Dear Friends, Comrades, Supporters, and Accomplices,
Without a doubt, Highlander’s work comes with risks. While investigations into March 29’s fire continue, we are clear that the destruction of our main office and the discovery of a white power symbol in the adjacent parking lot are part of the long tradition of white supremacist attempts to erase the sacred memories and gathering places of freedom fighters from across the South, Appalachia, the US, and the world.
As we close out 2019, we are clearer than ever that white supremacy will not win. We know this because of our staff and program leaders, who made the choice to keep the doors open on the evening after the fire to host a People’s Movement Assembly for over 50 people from across Central Appalachia to envision and plan for a world without prisons, jails, and detention centers. We know this because of the hundreds of people who refused to let an attack deter them from coming to Highlander over the spring, summer, and fall for the learning, strategizing, relationship-building, and rest that we all need to win. And, of course, we know this because of you and the thousands of other supporters who poured out love, money, and energy to help us begin the process of recovering.
For the coming year, join us as we recommit to Highlander’s mission: being a catalyst for social movements and grassroots organizing. We will keep our eyes on the prize of being a capacity building organization that supports, trains, and accompanies emerging generational cohorts of the 21st century Southern Freedom Movement. Drawing inspiration from Palestinian comrades who have called us to dream about a future where we’re all free, we will nurture global and grassroots relationships among movement leaders and popular educators. Right at home in New Market, Tennessee, we will cut the ribbon to open the Septima Clark Learning Center, the new home for our library and archives, and prepare for our 88th Homecoming Celebration in September 2020.
In short, we’re here. We’re committed to doing our part to build solid, healthy, winning movements for liberation and justice. We are grounded and ready to throw down in 2020, and we need you now more than ever. We need your financial gifts to grow and sustain our work, your presence to support our ongoing programs, and your clearest thinking on how we can support and accompany your work in the world. We will continue to be because of you.
With love and solidarity,
Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson & Allyn Maxfield-Steele