On July 7-9, 23 people from 17 organizations/communities gathered at Highlander for continued focus on Southern Strategies. Last fall, Highlander had used the occasion of our 75th anniversary to bring southerners together to lift up needs, challenges and cutting edge organizing in the region, and to build on the momentum of the U.S. Social Forum.
This Southern Strategies session built on the one last fall and focused as well on the movement-building opportunities of the elections and how to connect the new energy and momentum around the elections to social justice organizing. Continued work around key questions included:
- Core Values/Unifying Vision
- Funding and Infrastructure and Turf
- New Communities/Globalization of the South, Unfinished Business about Race
- Collective Strategy
The gathering was intergenerational, rural and urban, multi-racial, and multi-cultural, and people spent time exploring our shared values and vision. Follow up steps, among others, include a working group on values, and work together on the common interests of educational study groups, opportunities, and tools. Look for our full report next month.
The power of bringing people together to learn from each other was tangible as people impacted by displacement for different reasons – Katrina, immigration, mountaintop removal – learned about each other and developed both personal and political relationships.
Groups participating included Alternate ROOTS, Appalshop, Colectivo Flatlander, Grassroots Global Justice, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, Highlander, Midsouth Peace and Justice Center, National Organizers Alliance, People in Defense of Earth and Her Resources, People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, Project South, Southeast Regional Economic Justice Network, Southern Anti-Racist Network, Southern Energy Network, Tennessee Alliance for Progress, and Urban Epicenter.
The gathering was facilitated by Seyoum Lewis (People’s Institute, Southeast Regional Office, Atlanta), Erika Gonzalez (PODER, Austin, TX), and Pam McMichael (Highlander Director). Highlander will convene the next Southern Strategies meeting right after the elections.