Announcing The Lorde’s Werq: Black Leadership Development!

The mandate for Black people in this time:
To avenge the suffering of our ancestors
To earn the respect of future generations
To be transformed in the service of the work.
Mary Hooks, SONG Co-Director

The Lorde’s Werq: Black Leadership
Development Cohort

[En Español]

In line with our mandate and our legacy, SONG is pleased to announce the expansion of the North Carolina BLM Cohort to a regional Black leadership development pipeline!

In 2017, SONG launched the BLM Cohort leadership development project as a pilot in the state of North Carolina. We sought to develop, sharpen, and strengthen of a body of 15 Black queer, trans and gender non-conforming leaders across the state. For the past year, these member-leaders have loved on, supported, and lifted up Black leadership, fortified connections to each other for the road ahead. From Asheville, Charlotte, to Durham, BLM Cohort members led work on the ground, including freeing Black Mamas from jails across the state during our Black Mama’s Bail Out Action. In the process, cohort members gained skills in healing practices, communications, base-building, and direct action campaign organizing. In 2018, SONG is happy to announce the launch The Lorde’s Werq – an expansion of the the leadership development program to include up to 50 organizers and emerging leaders across the South.


Squad up.
The Lorde’s Werq is a cohort-based leadership development project for Black Queer, Trans*, and GNC identified organizers and emerging leaders across the South. This is for us: gender benders, t-guys, t-girls, stealths, fish, voguing femmes, non-binaries, genderqueers, no labels, drag impersonators, androgynous, PreOps, PostOps, grrrrls, bois, kweens, kings, shims, he-shes, gender creatives, and two-spirits. This is for us butch queens, deep dykes, same gender lovers, backwoods butches, hard femmes, power bottoms, stems, and stud kings.  This is for us: people with disabilities, immigrants, formerly incarcerated folks, rural folks, workers, hustlers, parents and people who rarely see our leadership prioritized. We will work to build trust and alignment, so that we can move powerfully together and in our hometowns toward Black liberation in our lifetimes.

Skill Up.
Member-leaders will spend a year developing core organizing skills, building an ongoing circle of support, and engaging in shared work together.  We will begin with an assessment of each person’s leadership development along a set of core organizing skills and an inventory of skills people desire/need to grow, then assess and revise goals at our winter gathering. During our regional convenings, cohort meetings, and monthly video conferences, member leaders will receive training in: base building, meeting facilitation, strategic communications, logistics, coalition and alliance building, direct action, and cultural organizing.

We believe that we are transformed in the service of the work and that there is no substitute for rolling up our sleeves and putting our hands to the plow. Leaders are not born in classrooms, but trained in the streets. All cohort members will devote an average of 2-5 hours per week to strengthening their own leadership and building power for the duration of the one year time commitment. In line with SONG’s goals, we seek to build SONG’s base and membership, end money bail, confront the Prison Industrial Complex, and grow our collective resilience. Members of The Lorde’s Werq will participate in SONG’s membership convenings and work in partnership with the Movement for Black Lives.


Participants will devote an average of 2-5 hours per week to strengthening their own leadership and building power for the duration of the one year time commitment.

  • April 13-15, 2018: SONG Regional Free From Fear Campaign Convergence (recommended for members in campaign sites)
  • May 25-27, 2018*: The Lorde’s Werq Leadership Summit
  • May – September, 2018*: Monthly video conferences, on the 1st Saturday of each month, 1-3pm
  • October 18-21, 2018: Bayard Rustin Convening (Recommended)
  • November 8-11, 2018*: The Lorde’s Werq Leadership Summit


Who/what is SONG?
  • Southerners On New Ground (SONG) is a regional Queer Liberation organization made up of people of color, immigrants, undocumented people, people with disabilities, working class and rural and small town, LGBTQ people in the South.
  • OUR VISION: SONG envisions a sustainable South that embodies the best of its freedom traditions and works towards the transformation of our economic, social, spiritual, and political relationships. We envision a multi-issue southern justice movement that unites us across class, age, race, ability, gender, immigration status, and sexuality; a movement in which LGBTQ people – poor and working class, immigrant, people of color, rural – take our rightful place as leaders shaping our region’s legacy and future. We are committed to restoring a way of being that recognizes our collective humanity and dependence on the Earth.
  • OUR MISSION: SONG is a home for LGBTQ liberation across all lines of race, class, abilities, age, culture, gender, and sexuality in the South. We build, sustain, and connect a southern regional base of LBGTQ people in order to transform the region through strategic projects and campaigns developed in response to the current conditions in our communities. SONG builds this movement through leadership development, intersectional analysis, and organizing.
How does this program relate to the rest of SONG’s work?
  • SONG is a multi-racial formation working to incubate and fortify Black and other people of color autonomous spaces. in particular, this cohort is one of the various ways that SONG seeks to honor our legacy and mandate to lift up Black leadership.
Is there a cost/fee to be part of the cohort? To attend the leadership summits?
  • There is no cost to join the cohort. Food and lodging for participants in the leadership summits are covered, travel assistance and child care are available for those who need.
When will I be notified about if I have been accepted into the cohort?
  • Applicants will be notified by Tuesday, April 10.
Who can I contact to get more information?

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