End of Summer Updates from SONG

From SONG’s Gaycation in June to the Rolling Out of Our Regional Campaign Work to New Staff Hires in Alabama to our Rural Organizing Work and Report – We’ve Been Busy and So Have you!

Aloha Is Not A Task, Nor A Courtesy, It Is Kuleana: ¡Melenie Mahinamalamalama Eleneke PRESENTE! 1959 – 2013

It is with great respect and love that SONG offers this tribute to our sister Melenie Mahinamalamalama Eleneke. It is a rare life that is guided by a personal sense of responsibility, and a true commitment to the tenants of Aloha. Melenie Mahinamalamalama Eleneke — Auntie Mel as she loved to be called – did just that. An international transgender rights activist, hula dancer and devoted auntie and sister died peacefully this month in her home in Daly City, CA.

Melenie was born on Oʻahu, Hawaii Dec. 25th, 1959. While attending Kailua High School in Honolulu, Melenie bravely transitioned to become the woman known and loved by a vast network of family, friends and colleagues.  Transitioning into her life as a female at age 14, Melenie demonstrated the courage and passion that she would carry front and center for the rest of her life. Read more…

SONGBIRDS – Do you use Gmail?

Gmail has recently made changes that re-organize and priotize emails in your inbox. To make sure you still get SONG emails check out this BLOG for tips on how to stay connected.


Gaycation Was Amazing! We Want to Do It Again and Again!gaycation

In June, over 100 SONG members and family gathered in East TN for 3 days of Gaycation – from DC to Little Rock, swimming, hiking, reading, and gay-bonding.

Our time together was truly SALVE for our SOULS. 

SONG membership brought their skills and talents to the kitchen and also to the ‘Open Space’ in the form of workshops, skillshares, and conversations from Yoga to Bondage to Masculinity and Vulnerability.
If you want to check out the beautiful photos – courtesty of Renee DeLapp and Beck Schillizi – please visit our FLICKR PAGE.  We promise that after seeing these pics you won’t be able to miss it next time.

We wanna do it again! We’re inviting folks to help plan the Gaycation next year! Interested? Email Kate@southernersonnewground.org

Campaign Roll-Out! Its Happening! Join Us!

Starting with a 65 member conversation at Gaycation, SONG staff and  members have been working really really hard to get consensus on our REGIONAL CAMPAIGN STRATEGY. While the campaign will be regionally connected through communications, training, approach and overall goals, it will be anchored in local sites in VA, NC, SC and AL. This fall teams of staff, members and member leaders will begin to do the campaign research around local issues in their communities related to Education and Gender and Sexual soverignty which will determine local strategies and local impact.

Why education you might ask?

The answer, why not?  Our public education is one of the last standing public institutions that is still accountable to the people.  It is also the one that continues to foster hostility toward people of color, girls, LGBTQ folks, immigrants, and working-class people, which sets a societal tone of hate, systemic inequality and discrimination.  Common Core Standards, the school-to-prison pipeline, privatization (i.e. resegregation), ethnic studies bans, school choice versus school improvement, school closings….I mean really!  The question isn’t why, but when and that time is NOW!  Get on board!

Want more information? Contact Mary@southernersonnewground.org

Small Town Crossroads

For months SONG’s rural organizing team has been planning, dreaming, and scheming about building and connecting deeply with our members from and living in the rural and small town South. From Creating Change to the Small Town Crossroads Summit to SONG’s 20th Anniversary Gaycation, we have heard about deep longing to return and stay in all of the “middle of somewhere” places that we have called home from the mountains of Appalachia to the waters of the Gulf. Keep your eyes posted for the Small Town Crossroads report due out later this month as we finalize the finer details of a program focused on small town and rural organizing and culture building. If you have questions or would like more information please contact hermelinda@southernersonnewground.org
Welcome SONG’s Newest Staff!jazz profile
We are thrilled to announce that Jazz Franklin has joined the staff of SONG – as our Alabama Field Organizer! Jazz is not a new bird to the work.  She interned with SONG in the summer of 2012 and was a member leader in 2012 and 2013.

Jazz is a quiet-ish, soft butch with a femme spirit born and raised in Alabama. curious and contemplative, Jazz is passionate about organizing, storytelling and the art of documentary. Since she’s been living in the dirty south, Jazz has formed a beautifully torrid love affair with its people, politics, and contradictions. Jazz developed a hankering for SONG as she was ready to flee the deep south from feelings of isolation. Since finding home and community with SONG & other radical people of color in the dirty, she’s continually on the mission to build with other alabama queers and relish in questions of what radical queer liberation feels like. Reach out to Jazz at Jazz@southernersonnewground.org  or 334-414-0982