Highlander gathers people together to strengthen their efforts. But also Highlander provides guidance and leadership to strengthen efforts of local groups, to connect local efforts with national efforts, to provide strategic spaces, and to help to ensure that voices of people directly affected are in leadership.

Economic Justice

Economic Justice is a key focus for Highlander through its 80 years. In the current context, Highlander is working with the U.S. Solidarity Economy Network, the Southern Grassroots Economy Project and other local and regional groups to help develop educational events and strategic gatherings that can aid communities and this region in developing stronger and fairer more regional economies as well as connecting to larger national and international efforts working to strategize to counter the power of multinational corporations and those who benefit most from the current economic context, to work for fairer economies that protect land and communities.

Immigrant Rights Movement

Highlander works to strengthen the immigrant rights movement, in these three key areas;

1. lifting up and development of immigrant..and refugee leadership in local, state and national spaces;
2. helping to reframe immigrant rights in a way that highlights its intersections with
other social justice movements
3. and strengthening the voice and presence of the US South within the movement.

The role that we play is directly connected to our strategic goals to strengthen the voices of immigrants and refugees in our region and beyond, and to build, strengthen and solidify a multiracial social justice movement. Highlander has deliberately reframed (and renamed) its immigration work to immigration and globalization, because the forces of global capital are at the core of what pushes people to migrate (externally or internally,and because of direct economic impact, political strife, or environmental devastation), and because those same forces are devastating local economies, whether in the United States or in sending countries.Highlander supports the work of other regional and national partners, including the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, the Southeast Immigrant Rights Network, and the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.

Racial Justice

Highlander is engaged in a racial healing racial justice effort called New R’s of Education: Recall and Remember, Record and Reflect, Repair and Recommend.

Most Southern communities have had little opportunity for much needed healing of the experiences deeply rooted in the fight for racial justice. Highlander Center is working with people in the communities of Nashville, Little Rock and the Knoxville Tennessee area to engage people in story circles, interviews and documentation to elicit histories around race at Highlander Center and in local communities. This information is being analyzed to tie history to current challenges, and, translate the power of these now collectivized stories into recommendations for institutional change and community transformation.

Southern Strategies

Highlander periodically brings together southern leaders to share information and strategize about what is happening regionally and ways that people can work together. There are also grassroots think tanks and other collaborative efforts to bring people together around emerging issues, which have included the prison industrial complex, gay marriage, inter-generational work,  economic development, and race and globalization.