It is with tremendous excitement that we announce Carlin Rushing and Jade Brooks have been selected as the new SONG Co-Directors.

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?”
– SONG Board of Directors

See Jade and Carlin’s letter to our membership below:

Dear SONG Members,

We are deeply honored to take on leadership and responsibility within SONG as the incoming Co-Directors. Committed and steadfast, we stand by the mission, vision, and values that have shaped this organization for the last three decades. Together, our duty lies in work that honors our ancestors, rises to meet the political moment, and is deemed worthy by future generations.

Our path to leadership speaks to SONG’s devotion to the transformation of self and community. We have come up and grown into organizers through SONG. We are the harvest of the SONG leadership development pipeline. Jade joined as a member in 2009, putting up chairs with her “big city” boots on, new to the region, searching and longing for something bigger than herself. In 2013, Carlin stumbled upon SONG, searching for and uncovering the link between theological study and the practices of community organizing and building. However, it was at the Franklinton Center at Bricks where Carlin truly recognized a unified sense of familial and political belonging. Like so many of you, we are of and from SONG, and we are deeply dedicated to this organization as our political home.

We bring to this role the depth and longevity of generations of relationships within SONG. We have weathered many storms for this work, moving through conflict and disagreement, joy and grief. During our collective tenure on staff, we have: invested in the leadership of many SONG staff and members, expanded SONG’s Fellowship program, built out SONG’s campaign arm, created SONG Power (our electoral sister organization), visioned our grief & spirit organizing, and planned many, many rowdy and life-giving convenings.

We intend to strengthen SONG’s community organizing muscle and kinship network. Our hope for 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. The two of us cannot do this alone. Our ask of you? Walk a path of trust with us and hold us to account when we fall short in our leadership.

These will be hard years. More than ever, we will need each other to survive. Our Elders tell us we face threats from forces with a severity we have not faced before. So many of us are feeling defeated. SONG is a beacon – bringing joy, bringing kinship & bringing the knowledge that there is a group of people moving toward freedom and liberation. SONG is a political organization, yes, but this work is also a spiritual calling for so many of us.

We have been working together and collaboratively for the past five years. We come from very different places. Carlin’s people are Black educators and farmers in the rural South who, regardless of vocation, live, love, work, and worship with a servant’s heart. Jade’s family are white people, Jews, and Quakers, and she was brought up by hippie types in the Pacific Northwest in a community devoted to direct action and fighting for the Earth. Our path towards building trust with one another is also the story of SONG. Through the work, we have deepened our political alignment, driven across many a Southern state fueled by coffee and candy, called each other at the crack of dawn, and given pep talks. We’ve had each other’s back through heartbreak, babies come early, UHauls, illness, grief, and all the truth of our blessed lives.

We embark on this journey, continuing SONG’s practice of sharing the work of governance in our Co-Directorship. We do so in the spirit of multiracial and cross-class organizing as well as Southern Black, Indigenous, and People of Color traditions of survival. This Southern way of thinking, doing, and being is an early model of collective leadership, co-work, and co-struggle.

We ascribe to the blueprint our founders provided to develop a Black Feminist and multiracial praxis while building a Beloved Community. As community organizers first, our role is to work together to strengthen the collective will to change the conditions of our lives. To do so is an offering to movement, to our political home, and to the South; it is work that cannot be done alone.

In the coming weeks, we will be sharing our Strategic Almanac, which reflects our assessment of current conditions, grapples with the contradictions impacting organizing in these times, and provides strategic direction for our organizing in the seasons to come. This offering was written collectively over the past three years through an organization-wide process of community engagement.

So, our Kindred: whether you are brand new here or seasoned, we invite you to come sit close to the fire and talk with us, work with SONG to build a new South. And if you’ve been away for a while, come back. Come back to movement. Come back to SONG. We want you as a member; we want you as our kin. We invite you to renew or to begin your SONG membership.

Our assignment is to steward our political home through what comes next. Will you join us?

Yours In Struggle,

Carlin & Jade

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