Shortly after the dawn of the new year, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents raided homes across the United States sending over 100 people into deportation. The Secretary of DHS Jeh Johnson, not surprisingly, was unapologetic and promised a continued onslaught of raids throughout the year to uphold “our laws and values.” ICE’s continued action make clear that the laws and values of this country continue to be steeped in violent White Supremacist understandings of who is allowed to exist where and in what form. The same logic and institutions that serve as the mechanism for the most recent raids work in concert with those that ensure that that police often murder Black people and walk free, with those that lead to the violent deaths of many transgender people of color, and with those that fuel Islamophobia as a logic to our military occupations and response to crises around the globe. As Black people, as immigrants, as LGBTQ people, and as Southerners, we walk between the lines and borders that confine us daily to survive. Tupac Shakur’s quote, “They got money for wars but can’t feed the poor,” continues to ring true as we watch our families and communities struggle to survive amidst a deepening wealth divide, the disappearance or privatization of our public institutions, poverty, evictions and job insecurity.
We know our survival means we cannot afford to be neutral about the laws and values that maintain such dire consequences for so many of us and our kin. We renew our collective struggle towards liberation and fight to keep our bodies free of cages and our spirits and hearts swimming in the things that sustain us. We do this work simultaneously and in 2016 SONG remains committed to strengthening the lifeblood that fuels so many of us: building a membership and kinship network that is a “team of the willing” of campaign organizers, cultural workers, healers, lawyers, communications wizards, queer and trans warriors and freedom fighters skilled-up and ready to move in the name of and for the lives of our people.
We also sit with a lot of leadership questions of ourselves and our movements, and we beg the questions:
- What does it take for our movement to be ready to not only dismantle this system that seeks to crush us but to also embody the vision of liberation in our daily organizing practice?
- What is our leadership posture?
- What movement tensions must we engage in principled struggle around in order to engage in transformative organizing and community building?
- How can we collectively center the values and principles that are rooted in our collective well-being?
- How do we practice a balance of self-work and collective care in the name of movement building?
- How do we grow and sustain the feminist values and leadership needed in our times?
We are committed to struggling with these questions of ourselves and each other with all of you in 2016 and beyond.
Part of that commitment includes our ongoing pledge to deepen the leadership of transgender and queer people in the South. This year, we welcome two members to the SONG staff team: Mickyel “Micky” Bradford, regional organizer for the TLC@SONG collaboration, and Eujenia Osoria, regional Queering Immigration organizing fellow.
“I’m excited to grow the Trans magic that has too long been invisibilized in the South. TLC@SONG is a deep commitment to growing southern trans leadership, emerging and long established. As a Black transwoman and a performance artist, I’m looking foward to utilizing the cultural organizing models our communities have survived on for generations and using them to secure real wins NOW! We are situated at this nexus of the highest visibility simultaneous to the growing, broad, and ever bold anti-blackness, rapid anti-immigrant attacks, and deep transphobia. While this convergence leaves us vulnerable, this collaboration represents the choice to dance into our leadership and to hold each other to organize against isolation. Let us dance, free from fear. Let us win, on the strength of our shared truth.” Micky
“I’m really excited to be coming into the Queering Immigration fellowship with SONG. 2016 is going to be a year that asks a lot of us all, and I’m ready to meet the moment with willingness, hope, and a desire to win for and with our people.” Eujenia
Mickyel “Micky” Bradford,
TLC@SONG Regional Organizer
Micky is a magical Black transfemme and army brat, born in Germany yet raised in North Carolina, Kentucky, and Georgia. She joins the TLC@SONG collaboration after working for four years in Atlanta on HIV/AIDS prevention and consulting, LGBTQ youth homelessness, and organizing Queer and Trans artists of color. Politicized while student organizing at Georgia State University in 2012, she was recruited as a youth leader to Spark Reproductive Justice NOW. In 2013, she became one of the founding members and workshop trainers of the Atlanta Coalition for LGBTQ Youth. In 2014, her training was tested as the world was immersed in direct action for Black Lives, repeatedly. In 2015, She co-founded the “Southern Fried Queer Pride” festival, organized action at Atlanta Pride and TransLiberation Tuesday and was named one of 17 Black Trans Activists Fighting for Liberation .” Her (s)hero-ancestors are Marsha P. Johnson and Grace Jones. She is more determined than ever to get her people their “10s” across the board on the runway to liberation.
R. Eujenia Osoria,
Regional Queering Immigration Fellow
R. Eujenia Osoria is a mixed race, queer, latinx from a working class, immigrant Mexican family. Born in Goshen, Indiana but raised in Jacksonville, Florida, Eujenia came into organizing through Girls Rock Camp Jacksonville and the #Not1More Campaign during the summer of 2013. They are deeply dedicated to liberation work in the South, and are excited about stretching into their role as the Queering Immigration Fellow with SONG.
Micky and Eujenia are just one part of our work in 2016 that is aimed tried and true toward what Co-Director Mary Hooks charges us collectively, “Let’s get free y’all.” We look forward to the continued collaborations with sister organizations across the South, playing a regional role in key national bodies, and strengthening our local leadership and campaign and culture work in the service of building a South Free From Fear. How can you help build with us in 2016?
Help Us Get 18 New Monthly Donors by January 31!
The Fund for Democratic Communities is generously gifting SONG $100 for each new monthly donor we can sign up before January 31, 2016. As we dream and scheme for 2016, we’re asking you to take another step forward with us by becoming a monthly sustainer of our work at any level. With your support we can meet the new year poised and ready for the challenges and opportunities ahead. To donate, you can mail a check to our new address (Southerners On New Ground; PO Box 11250; Atlanta, GA 30310) or donate online at http://bit.ly/givetoSONG
*If you sign up to become a monthly donor by January 31, 2015, we will mail you a copy of our recently released the “Liberation in Our Lifetime” SONG Chapbook, a collection of SONG writings, analysis, and interviews produced over the 23 years we’ve been around!
Join the Communications Team & Make It Rain Team
Can you help us copy edit, do graphic design or illustration, take and edit photos and videos, write a mean press release, or teach people how to do these things? Join our communications strategists, technicians, and mavens! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Help build out SONG’s grassroots fundraising. Contact email@example.com
Attend Our Regional Membership Call
7 PM EST// 6 PM CST
7 PM EST// 6 PM CST