It is with great respect and admiration that we write this letter of condolence to the family, friends, and comrades of Mr. Chokwe Lumumba. As a multi-racial movement building organization that centers the lives and leadership of black and brown lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Southerners at the heart of its work, it is without question that the work of Chokwe Lumumba and the New African Independence Movement is essential to our collective liberation.
We are Alabama SONG. We live in the Deep South; you know, where the black dirt is at and where some folks are scared to come visit because our interstates are littered with confederate flags flying high as New York City skyscrapers. Within this Deep South that’s both scary and beautiful, an organized group of radical queers are working to challenge the status quo, working to push the boundaries of “normal” and working to explore the possibilities of Southern transformation and resilience. We push back on the status quo by convening in public spaces and becoming visible. We push back by realizing we can create the world we want. We push back because we realize that we exist as Southern queers and that is something to be proud of.
As of late, we have pushed our boundaries by working with the citizens of Huntsville, AL, to organize a campaign around the decriminalization of our bodies and the right to access decent public education. I guess, in essence, we see outside forces, both policy and culture, that try to contain us, tell us how to act, how to dress, and how to speak. We say, kindly or not so kindly, that’s not the way we queer people do things. We are deviant and that is okay. We are worthy of good jobs and a wholesome education and safety.
Our campaign, part of SONG’s regional work, has started with listening to the people of Huntsville. Here in Huntsville 10 SONG member leaders are in the process of surveying our communities to see what issues black and brown LGBTQ folks are facing and how as a community we can improve our conditions. We listen first because we know we cannot move without our people behind us and without our people involved. We have been surveying in black bars, neighborhoods, and LGBT affirming churches all in hopes to name an issue and frame our campaign in Huntsville.
This process is allowing us to build trust and long lasting relationships between our current SONG membership, our new members, and organizations that share our political imperatives. Our Alabama member leaders are becoming stronger and have closer relationships because of this work. i have found friends who i will remember and who i know i can depend on for a lifetime. We share the vision of confronting power; power that tells us we ought not to exist. In our confrontation, we aim to affirm ourselves and our life choices, we aim to build community, and we aim to grow exponentially. We are on the path to gather more members and share these bonds. We empower ourselves to stand and speak as the people of Alabama and we say without hesitation
We are not afraid of your flags
We are not afraid of your laws
We are not afraid of your churches
We are here to rebuild a South that we wish to see, a South that is inclusive of difference and stands against all oppression. We love one another in public and we are not wrong. We are here and we aren’t going away. We are and will continue to transform Alabama.
In solidarity and love,
jazz, SONG Alabama Field Organizer
To get involved or find out more about SONG’s work in Alabama contact email@example.com
You can support South Carolina SONG members by submitting your own selfie on Homo Sweet Homo and tell your friends!
FIERCE and Southerners on New Ground (SONG) Release Groundbreaking Reports at Creating Change Conference in Houston, TX
We’re co-releasing the report today with FIERCE! and their new national report on LGBTQ youth organizing called Moving Up, Fighting Back: Creating a Path to LGBTQ Youth Liberation.
Both reports lift up the experiences of LGBTQ communities in the rural and small town south and LGBTQ Youth of Color nationally and call for increased resources for geographically under-represented regions and communities facing homelessness, violence and criminalization.
We hope you’ll check out these reports and get connected to our work!
Want to know more about the report and our Small Town South program? Want to connect to other rural and small town LGBTQ people in the South? Email hermelinda@