Below is the link to listen to the audio from Suzanne Pharr’s presentation on The History of the Right Wing at Out South: A Gathering of LGBTQ Leadership.
The Penn Center: December 5th 2014
How do you put the best a national organization has to offer, in the service of local and regional leadership, to do the most for LGBTQ people in that place? What national collaborations impact what matters most to local advocates: the day-to-day lives of our communities? What can national organizations help provide that actually makes us safer, stronger, less alone, and more equipped in local and regional work?
“All we fought for at Weinstein Hall was lost when we left upon the request of the pigs…. You people run if you want to, but we’re tired of running. We intend to fight for our rights until we get them.” — Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) first pamphlet, 1970.
In the first 31 days of 2015 we have already witnessed the tragic loss of (at least) 6 LGBTQ people of Color. We sit in our homes, offices, and sometimes our streets, holding the reality that precious lives have been taken from us and that families and communities are grieving and surviving through this continuing nightmare.
For Immediate Release
Serena Sebring, SONG Campaign Organizer 919.597.9043 firstname.lastname@example.org
Jade Brooks, SONG Member Leader 831.588.3463 email@example.com
Caitlin Breedlove, SONG Co-Director 865.310-1463 firstname.lastname@example.org
January 17, 2015
Durham, NC - On Saturday, January 17 at 5:00pm, Southerners on New Ground (SONG) will host a launch event announcing the “Free From Fear” campaign, at The Pinhook (117 W Main St, Durham, North Carolina 27701). Free From Fear seeks to pass an ordinance to prevent discriminatory policing and police profiling of LGBTQ people and people of color, and to address the harmful effects of these patterns on the local community. The campaign’s central goal is the passage of a local anti-profiling ordinance, “The Durham Community Safety Act,” which would ban police profiling and discrimination based on race, immigration status, gender, gender identity and sexual orientation. Southerners on New Ground is a regional LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, + queer) organization made up of people of color, immigrants, undocumented people, people with disabilities, working class and rural and small town people in the South.
“So many LGBTQ people face daily fear in our homes, workplaces, families, homes of worship, and in the streets. So it makes so much sense for LGBTQ people to work for a Community Safety Act that benefits everyone in Durham.” -Caitlin Breedlove, SONG Co-Director
“As a resident of Durham for many years, and a queer black mother raising three kids, I want to see my LGBTQ community take a lead in making Durham safer for my kids, LGBTQ youth, youth of color and everyone.” -Serena Sebring, SONG Organizer
“We know that Durham has been a hub of LGBTQ organizing for years, we defeated Amendment One here by over 70%! But not all of our community is treated equally by the police or the legal system. As a white queer woman, my commitment to my black and brown family means that I have to join this fight. ” -Jade Brooks, SONG member
The event is free and open to the public, and will feature a program of live music by local musicians, and speakers: Caitlin Breedlove (SONG, Co-Director), Serena Sebring (SONG, Campaign Organizer), Jade Brooks (SONG, Member Leader), Sendolo Diaminah (Durham Public Schools Board Member), among others. Light refreshments and childcare will be provided.
Free From Fear: SONG Announces Local Campaigns Across the South
“What could be born in our communities if LGBTQ people and people of color were not afraid to walk our streets, lead in our towns, and fully lean into our own bodies and lives?”
This is a guiding question for SONG’s new work. Free From Fear is one organization’s pledge to a wider collective movement commitment to fight and defeat fear and violence our towns, cities, region and country that stems from state and institutional violence. Free From Fear is a campaign name, an aspiration, and a thread tying the work of SONG together.
When we began moving more deeply into immigration work, our Co-Director, Paulina Helm-Hernandez, said: “Our work is not to bleed out proving to other people we are human. Our work is to strengthen our people to transform our world.” Organizing that is guided by this value can change our own lives, and our towns, cities and states. We know the state of fear and violence today in our communities. We know because of the daily fear of harm and death that people in our communities live with, and because of the self-hatred and isolation forced onto many of our children. We don’t have time to wait for slow trickle down culture change promised by some national and conservative LGBTQ organizations: we know that we urgently need to build and move the biggest asset we have which is our people.