Southerners on New Ground (SONG) is thrilled to welcome Carlin Rushing and Jade Brooks as our new Co-Directors. SONG is a home and legacy organization for queer and trans liberation across all lines of race, class, ability, age, immigration status, gender, and sexuality in the South. Brooks and Rushing are both long-time SONG members, bringing a rich joint history of service and innovation to SONG. They most recently served as SONG’s Political and Membership Directors. SONG knows that, as we face conditions characterized by individualization, disillusionment, and renewed attacks on our communities, the moment is now for the unique combination of the leadership qualities and collective orientation that Rushing and Brooks bring: endurance, steady-handedness, organizing skills, and a deep love for our communities.

“Carlin and Jade were chosen based on their many years of work with SONG— as members and as staff—during which they have steadfastly shown up in servant leadership to say yes to the question, ‘Are you willing to be transformed in the service of the work?’” – Roberto Tijerina, SONG Board President and former Co-Director. 

“Both Carlin and Jade have been longtime and dedicated members of our political home and time and time again have chosen to stay in the mud, even when times got really hard. Both demonstrate a commitment to our people, the organization, and movement more broadly that it is hard to come by these days. Both walk with a set of principles and values that exemplify the type of leadership we need in these times.” – Mary Hooks, former SONG Co-Director 

“Jade’s desire to “partner powerfully,” to prioritize base-building and/or united fronts is amplified in Carlin’s desire to “find our people.” They offer the transformative leadership we need right now, to make common cause and build solidarity; to serve as a “beacon” that welcomes our people and “combats feelings of defeat by bringing joy.”’ – kai lumumba barrow, longtime SONG member. 

“Carlin and Jade embody the deepest and most important aspects of what we need in leaders for SONG: they have a spiritual commitment to our people, ancestors, and purpose. They have the skills to lead the organization in terms of campaigns, membership, resourcing, communications, and operations. They have the humility to adapt, learn, and grow where needed. They both are willing to tend and mend our kin network, our campaigns, our members, and our organization. They can lead us into the complicated terrain of movement building in our region and in our time.” – Caitlin Breedlove, former SONG Co-Director 

Carlin and Jade’s Vision for Leadership

“We ascribe to the blueprint SONG founders and previous Co-Directors provided while continuing to develop a Black Feminist and multiracial praxis to build Beloved Community. As community organizers, our role is to work together to strengthen the collective will to change the conditions of our lives and create a world worthy of future generations. Our responsibility is to make movement work truly transformative through disciplined political study and rigor, queer and trans love and joy, relationship building grounded in trust, and organizing that builds collective power and leadership in order for a just and liberated society be made manifest. To do this is an offering to movement, our political home, and the South.” – Carlin Rushing 

“Our hope during our tenure is for SONG to grow in rigorous practice around base building, cultural organizing, democratic process, and decision-making. We want to continue to experiment and be creative in our organizing tactics. We want to see SONG partner powerfully with other key movement organizations, bringing forth our robust base of skilled up, queer & trans members (committed Dangerous Homosexuals) alongside other Southerners whose fates are intertwined with our own. We will work to build the next bench of leaders. This is not simply a job; it is a commitment to changing the conditions of our people.” – Jade Brooks

About SONG

Southerners On New Ground (SONG) is a regional Queer Liberation organization made up of Black people, people of color, immigrants, undocumented people, people with disabilities, working class and rural and small town, LGBTQ people in the South. We believe that we are bound together by a shared desire for ourselves, each other, and our communities to survive and thrive. We believe that Community Organizing is the best way for us to build collective power and transform the South. Out of this belief, we are committed to building freedom movements rooted in Southern traditions like community organizing, political education, storytelling, music, breaking bread, resistance, humor, performance, critical thinking, and celebration.

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. We develop leadership, build our membership base, and identify and carry 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.

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