2016 Out South
Photo by: Elainiel Baldwin

What does it mean to you to be a member of SONG?

“To be a member of SONG is really empowering for me. I can relate to the values and the empowerment they give to Black women, especially the women that we bail out. I’m currently in the position of Black Mama’s Bail Out Case Manager & Site Coordinator for SONG and SONG is so supportive of what we are doing! I’ve been involved in SONG for a year. This past year has been a year of learning with watching women transform from being in cages to being free, to becoming politically educated on the values and issues of SONG and really being involved. I see that SONG continually assists these women and me with the tools to be successful.”

Devohn Phillips (she/her), Durham, NC

“I’m currently holding a lot of work in Atlanta around court watch and I hope to hold work around melting ICE. Being a SONG member means committing to chosen family, having self-accountability to how you want to show up and engage in the work, making commitments to really knowing your fellow comrades, educating each other about where we from politically and how we want to grow politically and envisioning working together to create a community to carry us into a sustainable future where we’re all gonna get free GOD DAMN! The first weekend I moved to Atlanta in 2016 I came to a training that SONG was having with Critical Resistance and I showed up early and Mary Hooks was smoking a cigarette outside. Her enthusiasm to be like, ‘You’re new! You want to wanna jump in! This is what you wanna do! Do this, this and this!” and I was immediately activated and I believe in Mary as a movement worker. She was my catalyst to come into this work.”

Olivia Rivera (she/her), Atlanta, GA

“For me being a member of SONG means being unapolgetically Southern, unapolgetically Black, unapolgetically queer and unapolgetically trans. It also means to organize in a way that is rigorous, that is always base-building to always bring our people along and that is deeply intersectional. It means we are always building power. Everything we do, every decision we make, every campaign plan, every coalition meeting and relationship we build is intentionally and actively building power across the region, shifting and changing power in everything that we do and increasing the empowerment of the most marginalized people in the South while challenging the most unhelpful patterns in the movement right now.”

DJ Hudson (they/them), Nashville, TN

“I am a member who is trying to start a SONG chapter in New Orleans. Being a SONG member to me means being with my kindred, to identify the things putting us down, to be able to collevelty manifest the will to effect change, rid ourselves of these afflictions, to find dignity and to find strength in community. I found SONG when I was a place in the movement where I was lost, where I had been abandoned by the movement. I was coming out of spaces that didn’t want me to be in space as my full self as a Black person and as a queer person. I found SONG when I was alone in these spaces. SONG members sought me out, in my community in New Orleans, and informed me about what SONG was and what oppunities SONG had for queer folks, speciically queer people of color, to not only fight for our liberation but be leaders in our liberation struggle.”

Toni Duplechain-Jones (she/her), New Orleans, LA & 2019-20 Lorde’s Werq Member


What do you feel is possible as a member of SONG?

“After this convening, I fell like a lot is possible. I was really inspired hearing all the stories from Durham and there was a break out session about it and I think in this moment, everything is possible. I’m really floating right now.”

Marian Mwenja (she/her), Birmingham, AL

“I think everything is possible. What I really would like to see is us be instrumental in policy changes. Statewide policy changes. Georgia doesn’t have a hate crime law and I think that would be a great project for organizations like ACLU or Southerner Center to work on implementing a policy change.”

Waleisah Wilson (she/her), Columbus, GA & 2019-20 Lorde’s Werq Member

“I think what comes with SONg is having that imagination with no cap or ceiling. You always have room to grow to keep imaging and keep being hopeful. To always envision a better tomorrow and how the movement can continue to grow.”

Daniel Pizarro (he/him), Atlanta, GA

“What’s possible with SONG? To me I think sky’s the limit. Using the framework that SONG has and the community that SONG is building I think we can go anywhere from reform to revolution.”

Toni Duplechain-Jones (she/her), New Orleans, LA & 2019-20 Lorde’s Werq Member