Free From Fear

Dream! Vote! Organize!

Photo via SONG Member Micah Blaise

Photo courtesy SONG member Micah Blaise

We step into 2017 after a year of shifting political waters and we know that in order to continue to build the power we need in the South, regardless of who controls the White House, we have to be more clear about who and how we are in relationship to each other as Southern people who are working to earn the respect of future generations. Our very lives depend on it.

As a Southern regional organization made up of justice Loving LGBTQ people – who are Black, Muslim, Immigrant, Undocumented, Working Class, Country/Rural and Folks of Color we recognize the importance of this political moment:

We invite you to take up the MANDATE

To Avenge the Suffering of Our Ancestors
To Earn the Respect Of Future Generations
To Be Transformed in the Service of the Work

SONG Co-Director, Mary Hooks

We are weary and moved to act – just like millions of other Southerners that dream of, know in our bones, and demand that there has to be a better way. We deserve LEADERS that are worthy of our vote, that are worthy of our courage, that are pro-Black, pro-worker, pro-woman, pro-transgender, and pro-immigrant and that are not afraid of coming toe-to-toe to combat the key plagues and issues of our time.

WE ARE PEOPLE, NOT PLATFORMS
AND YES WE DO HAVE AN AGENDA

We know what it is like to be used as a political wedges for our Blackness, our immigration status, our gender, our sexuality, and the money we don’t have in the bank. Legislators and politicians have put a target on our backs – banking on the fact that we will continue to believe the lies about each other that they tell. They have propped themselves and their political platforms up based on fear, loathing, hatred of the “other”, racism, xenophobia, transphobia, homophobia and more. They see us as a threat because of our power and our potential power. We refuse to comply with their division and to be used as bargaining chips to attack one another, we we need each other to survive. We are not the enemy and not each other’s enemy. It’s time for us to claim our rightful place  as people with so much at stake with so much more to gain.

We can feel the echos and the ripple effects of grassroots organizing and advances that have been made in the last two years from Appalachia to the Gulf Coast. The call of Black Lives Matter, of No DAPL, of Bazta Arpaio aren’t just hashtags, but they are the response of thousands of people rising up to waves of backlash and staking sovereignty over our bodies and our lands. Together we can build power to build political agendas grounded in unity, sovereignty, autonomy, dignity, and love. There is visionary organizing happening all around us. We stand with it, we join it, and we lead it, because  we demand better for ourselves and our people.

WHAT IS TO BE DONE?

We demand an end to profiling and state violence against people of color and LGBTQ people in southern towns and cities. Our Free from Fear campaigns, in these towns, will call into question who gets to be safe in our homes, schools and streets; and they will answer that question with this simple answer–we do. That answer names a demand: safety, dignity, respect for our people, now! We have active campaigns in Richmond, VA, Harrisonburg, VA, Atlanta, GA, Charleston, SC and Durham, NC. Our campaigns range from creating community review boards to increase accountability of local police departments, to creating a making municipal legal fines and fees based on income, to working on ending the criminalization of our youth in schools. These campaigns will help us further engage with and fight for our people on the local level. Commit with us to dream, to vote, and to organize today, tomorrow, and after election day!

We Dream: Sign onto the Movement for Black Lives Policy Platform

We Dream: Gather people together to watch 13th and have a conversation around Community Safety

We Vote: To build power at a local level

We Vote: Against some of the biggest local bigots on your ballot – do some digging

We Vote: Against the constitutional changes that will set our people back

We Organize: Organizing for us creating the changes we want to see in our lives

We Organize: Link up with a local SONG Free From Fear Crew in your area, for more information on how to start your own Free from Fear campaign contact Kate Shapiro, SONG Membership Director

FREE FROM FEAR

“What could be born in our communities if LGBTQ people and people of color were not afraid to walk our streets, lead in our towns, and fully lean into our own bodies and lives?”

This is a guiding question for SONG’s work. Free From Fear is one organization’s pledge to a wider collective movement commitment to fight and defeat fear and violence our towns, cities, region and country that stems from state and institutional violence. Free From Fear is a campaign name, an aspiration, and a thread tying the work of SONG together.