SOUTHERN STRATEGIES III
NOVEMBER 18 – 20, 2008
THE ECONOMY AND THE ELECTIONS
Beginning with lunch at noon on Tuesday, the 18th
and wrapping with lunch at noon on Thursday, the 20th
What times we are in! Economic crisis. A narrow window of time to avert environmental disaster. And many other challenges facing our communities.
Still, we are in a great moment for progressive social justice. These issues and the presidential election provide powerful opportunities for movement building and potential for meaningful change on issues of justice that we all care about.
We hope you can come to Highlander for Southern Strategies III, a gathering just after the elections, November 18-20, 2008, to share with each other our analysis of the moment, consolidate the lessons from what we are seeing and learning, and strategize on how we maximize our steps together as southern organizations in our work for justice.
Planning Committee – Art Menius, Appalshop; Cindy Weisner, Grassroots Global Justice; Emery Wright, Project South; Tomas Aguilar, Colectivo Flatlander; Liz Veazy, Southern Energy Network; Elandria Williams and Pam McMichael, Highlander.
Basic Shared Assumptions
- What happens in the South, good and bad, affects the rest of the country, and therefore the world.
- We are stronger when our work is connected.
- Great organizing work is going on throughout the region. People often don’t know about this work, and it often isn’t connected.
- The US Social Forum, the presidential election and ongoing cutting edge organizing on Katrina, mountaintop removal, immigration, and the cradle to prison pipeline, among others, provide opportunities for education and engaging new people in social justice organizing.
- We benefit from intentional, collaborative strategy to build better understanding across the country of the critical role of the South and our particular needs in the region.
- Learn from each other’s analysis of the moment.
- Develop a working understanding of what each other does and contributes.
- Identify shared values, core priorities and common ground.
- Strengthen relationships and collaborative opportunities.
- Develop strategies to maximize organizing opportunities in the South.
- Assess infrastructure needs of the region and develop plans to meet those needs.
- Work together to increase political understanding in our communities of the issues we face.
Background and Context
In 2007, the Highlander Center used the occasion of its 75th anniversary to organize a Southern Strategy Session to lift up the needs, issues and cutting edge work of the region, build new and strengthen existing relationships between organizations in the South, and provide opportunity for organizations in the region to convene and build on the gains and momentum of the US Social Forum. Over 70 people from 60 organizations, coalitions and networks attended the day long session focused on Core Values/Unifying Vision; Funding and Infrastructure and Turf; Messaging; Youth; New Communities/Globalization of the South/Unfinished Business; and Collective Strategy.
In this collaboration effort, the facilitation team of staff from Highlander, Project South and Stone Circles was joined by planning committee members from Appalshop, Colectivo Flatlander, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, Southeast Regional Economic Justice Network, Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition and UNITE HERE Local 2262.
In July of 2008, 23 people from 17 organizations continued the Southern Strategies conversations with focus on key questions of:
- How do we take the civic engagement around the elections and shift that into justice organizing?
- How can we structurally link our work in ways that collectivize our capacity and build needed infrastructure for the region?
- How do we develop the skills so activists and leaders of diverse communities can work together and build authentic relationships and enduring alliances?
The facilitation team of staff from Highlander, People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond/Atlanta, and PODER were joined on the planning team with representatives from Appalshop, Colectivo Flatlander, and Southern Energy Network with input from other participants in the first session.
Actions from the July, 2008 Gathering from which We Are Proceeding
- Develop a “People’s Dialogue on Race, Immigration, Displacement, and Incarceration” as a four point strategy for education and movement building.
- Create reading and discussion materials for study groups in local areas for political education in our communities for preparation for the People’s Dialogue and beyond.
So please let us know by October 31st if you can come for the November gathering. We look forward to seeing you and continuing this important conversation. Click here to register online.
For more information or if you have questions, you can contact:
Pam McMichael pam (at) test.highlandercenter.org, 865-933-3443 ext. 222
Susan Williams – swilliams (at) test.highlandercenter.org, 865-933-3443 ext. 229
Elandria Williams – elandria (at) test.highlandercenter.org, 865-933-3443 ext.244