Our Work: BUILD, SUSTAIN, AMPLIFY, CONNECT
The Legacy and Dream of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Queer communities as committed to liberation, dignity, and safety for all people must be remembered, amplified, and carried forward….
SONG builds a beloved community of LGBTQ people in the South who are ready and willing to do our part to challenge oppression in order to bring about liberation for ALL people.
SONG develops leadership, builds our membership base, and identifies and carries out community organizing projects and campaigns. All of our work strives to bring together marginalized communities to work towards justice and liberation for all people.
In particular, we build coalitions and alliances with other People of Color, Immigrant, Working Class, and LGBTQ communities. To make the strengths of our communities and work visible, we amplify stories of LGBTQ Liberation and resistance from our work in the stronghold of the conservative rightwing—the South.
BUILD AND SUSTAIN
Membership + Build Our Numbers
SONG is a membership-based organization. We build membership as a way to build the skills, connection and leadership of thousands of Southern LGBTQ people of color, rural people, immigrant people and working class people – united together in the struggle for dignity and justice for all people. In order to transform the South we must build our collective power, our people power, which comes from thousands and thousands of us uniting to make the South the home our communities need it to be. To find out more about SONG Membership or becoming a SONG Member click here. As LGBTQ people, we know that our oppression flourishes in isolation, membership can be an opportunity to move past inaction, towards unity and power. SONG has over 2,000 members in the South (and national supporters) and more than 100 member leaders in our five key states, who are weekly doing the every day work of SONG. SONG has often referred to those united in our liberation as ‘the Kindred’. As the Kindred, we know that we need each other for connection, story-sharing, tool-swapping, and to build our bravery. We play a big role in sustaining each other. SONG seeks to connect our membership first through technical assistance, and then through deepening membership
Organizing For Movement Building
Organizing For Movement Building is a leadership development program for SONG members who are emerging Southern queer organizers. The program embraces a 3-step approach to leadership development: political education, collective leadership, and grassroots direct action organizing. In 2012, SONG launched the Organizing for Movement Building program in four sites across the South: Charleston, SC, Richmond, VA, and Greensboro, NC.
One of the ways we do direct-support to our members and organizers on the ground is through technical assistance and tool-development, and sharing those in trainings, gatherings, over the phone, email and on our website. We are continuing to deepen this work; focusing on technical assistance to our most marginalized communities in the South. SONG membership grants our people access to these tools, each other, and a regional ‘switchboard’ of groups and people working on similar issues, with similar realities, and passions.
Throughout all of our work—particularly in our communications, trainings, projects and campaigns—we underscore the need for cultural and spiritual resiliency for LGBTQ people. Resiliency does not mean that we embrace our oppression—it means we are stronger than it, because we are still here. As we actively struggle against it, we build and replenish our power in the face of it. We do this through building broader communities of care—where we see each other’s liberation and survival as connected. We share, develop, and cross-pollinate our histories, practices, and tools for resiliency in all we do.
Building BeLoved Community Campaigns
In order to build our power, we have to strategically bring people together to pick issues and moments to work towards specific changes. Campaigns become opportunities to win concrete changes, make new coalitions (sets of groups and individuals working together for a common goal), and heighten momentum in our people by challenging power. In 2013, we will be launching local campaigns focused on education transformation in Greensboro, NC; Charleston, SC; Richmond, VA; and sites in Alabama. We will be bringing together LGBTQ communities, Immigrant communities (specifically Latino), and communities of Color to fight for justice and liberation in our educational systems.
Rural/Small Town Program
In 2013, SONG will be launching a new rural program that focuses on supporting rural and small town LGBTQ-led projects. Stay Tuned!
Strategic Communications: Writings, Publications, Reports
Our work is rooted in a profound belief in our people, and in the need for us as LGBTQ people of color, immigrant, people of Color, and rural people to be able to speak for ourselves as our lives are so often completely ignored OR the subject of analysis by people outside our community. All of our work starts with deep and long term Listening Campaigns and community based surveys. The results of these listening campaigns inform our work. We also play an important role in collaborating with, informing, replenishing, and challenging the LGBTQ movement; in its analysis, strategies, and culture production. SONG’s writings have been published in several books, most recently THE NEW QUEER AGENDA, as well as numerous reports and blogs.
Coalitional Work – Collaborative Work
No one organization can build movement alone—coalitions and collaborations are how we build bigger impact, and take work to scale. On the national, regional, state-wide and local levels, SONG collaborates with more groups than we could name here. We play important roles in informing the national LGBTQ movement on Southern conditions, and the Southern movement on LGBTQ realities. We do this through connecting our members to National Convenings, writings, and on-going joint projects on local, state, regional and national levels. There are two we would like to mention here…. we are focused on building with ROOTS—a national LGBTQ POC initiative to build power and national work collaboratively; as well as Southern-based work with Project South and other Southern racial and economic justice organizations to strategize around Southern movement building.
Membership Convenings + Campouts
We hold on-going convenings for constituents, members, and member leaders. Our convenings focus on bringing people together not just for social connections, but to build shared work, stories, and resiliency. Members are kept abreast of key convenings, and gatherings SONG holds throughout the year.