Recently we came across the following in a 1991 New York Times editorial by Peter Applebome about the passing of Highlander founder Myles Horton:
“[Myles Horton] left behind an institution that is not only alive but also remains
one of the most stubbornly tenacious instruments for social change in the nation.”
“Stubbornly tenacious for social change.” We’ll take that, won’t you?
It was stubborn tenacity that helped drive the vision to launch Highlander during the Great Depression in 1932, and more, make a go of it in those early lean and challenging years. And it’s been one decade of stubborn tenacity after another as Highlander has continued to play a unique and consistent cutting edge role in building grassroots leadership and strong, connected movements, often defying the odds.
It was stubborn tenacity that first created a physical place for Highlander’s radical exploration in education and democracy, and stubborn tenacity that has continued to tie Highlander to place for 81 years, despite attacks from historic and current hate groups, the taking of Highlander’s original land by the state of Tennessee, and modern day recession and depression.
We recently applied our stubborn tenacity to a Strategic Assessment and Action Process, where we endeavored to further strengthen our strategic, adaptive muscles. Board, staff and constituents dug in to take a look at the current moment, reflect on our strengths and challenges, and with a broad process of inquiry, ask what people need in the current context. To see the results of this process, including our plans for new and deepened areas of work for the coming year, we invite you to view the Executive Summary available on our website.
Now, as one year comes to a close and we look to the work of the next, we ask you to answer Highlander’s 81-year tradition of stubborn tenacity with some stubborn tenacity of your own through a year-end gift to Highlander’s ongoing program work. Your generosity will strengthen emerging leaders working for economic transition in Appalachia, support African American and other communities across the region using art and culture for social change, build the skills of youth groups fighting to put an end to the school-to-prison pipeline, and much, much more.
We also ask that on top of your generosity for Highlander’s program work, and by March 31, 2014, you stretch and make a special one-time gift or pledge to Highlander’s Generations to Come Capital Campaign. We have raised over $1.6 M toward our $3.2 million dollar campaign goal and would love to add your generosity to that total. Every bit helps! To find out more about the campaign, please check out the brochure and latest progress report on our website!
In the details of each strategy, program and workshop, and in the decisions of stewarding our facilities, Highlander brings an understanding of the long haul work for justice: the belief in real people and that they can lead; proven methodologies and an eight decade track record; a commitment to building true democracy; and a love for people so that communities and systems we build value all of us and don’t throw anyone away. Now there’s a stubbornly tenacious combination to which you can feel good about giving your hard earned dollars.
We couldn’t do this work without being in it together with you, and we are honored and humbled to do so. Thank you!
With warmest wishes for the season and the new year, deepest gratitude for your generosity, and absolute belief in the way our work together affects change, now and for generations to come,
Pam McMichael-Excutive Director
Henry Allen-Board of Directors and Co-Chair, Generations to Come Capital Campaign