Why the South?

SONG’s work in the South is grounded in history, a belief in redemption, and a belief in those who have been left behind by power structures.

History: because this land is thick with what came before us– colonization, slavery, Civil Rights Movement, migration for labor, traditions of struggle, resilience, and beauty.

Redemption: because we believe that while the South is a physical geography of white supremacy and poverty and how they form plantations, mountaintop removal, and slave labor, it is also more than that. It is a place of redemption and hope for many: a place where folk reconcile with past in an honest and painful way; a place where people can stay in lands riddled with pain and remember old traditions; and birth new ways.

Belief in Those Left Behind: because while we have been under-funded, denied infrastructure, brutalized by poverty, racism, homophobia, transphobia and all manners of oppression; movement people in the South have always been fighting (like oppressed people all over the world) to keep our heads up. Since 1993, SONG has found creative ways, based on kin and chosen-family structures, to push toward liberation. We have not turned our back on organizing, food, singing, culture, our elders, our youth, and our poets, craftspeople and artisans. We find joy in such unlikely places.

Being Southerners On New Ground means loving hard histories, giving thanks, making visionary space, listening, analyzing, organizing, being kin, seeking wholeness and realizing there is no liberation in isolation.

If we want to build a broad-based movement for justice, across many different communities we believe we need to articulate clearly what we believe.

ARE YOU SOUTHERN? WANT SOME IDEAS FOR HOW TO START TALKING ABOUT IT WITH FOLKS AROUND YOU? TRY THESE TWO IDEAS…

  1. Did you know that the below are all true? Ask your friends and families what they think

    What does it mean to be Queer and Trans in…
    …the place with the most military bases in the country?
    …the part of the country with the most rural space?
    …the part of the country with the most churches and church folks in the country?
    …the place in the country with the biggest shift in ecological destruction? (Heavy increase)
    …a place that African-Americans are returning to in large numbers?
    …a landscape so powerfully altered by both slavery and the Civil Rights Movement?

    Do you live in the South? Then, what does it mean to you?

  2. Quick Meditation on the South, for giving thanks when you are doing Southern Organizing and things get hard:
    I just want you to close your eyes for a second and picture the land of the South, for those of us who have been lucky enough to travel through different parts of the South, seeing the mountains of Appalachia, the Spanish Moss in South Carolina, the red clay in Mississippi…picture them. For those of us who have been lucky enough to be invited into homes for cornbread, grits, chitlins, enchiladas, and all other kinds of delicious food—think on that and on the hospitality you have known. And remember also all those people of the South—little kids and adults and elders—who have given their lives for the struggle for freedom. And just take a moment, in whatever way makes sense to you, and give thanks to the land, to the food, the people, to the struggle….