Southerners On New Ground
Southerners On New Ground (SONG) is a regional Queer Liberation organization made up of people of color, immigrants, undocumented people, people with disabilities, working class and rural and small town, LGBTQ people in the South.
SONG envisions a sustainable South that embodies the best of its freedom traditions and works towards the transformation of our economic, social, spiritual, and political relationships. We envision a multi-issue southern justice movement that unites us across class, age, race, ability, gender, immigration status, and sexuality; a movement in which LGBTQ people – poor and working class, immigrant, people of color, rural – take our rightful place as leaders shaping our region’s legacy and future. We are committed to restoring a way of being that recognizes our collective humanity and dependence on the Earth.
SONG is a home for LGBTQ liberation across all lines of race, class, abilities, age, culture, gender, and sexuality in the South. We build, sustain, and connect a southern regional base of LBGTQ people in order to transform the region through strategic projects and campaigns developed in response to the current conditions in our communities. SONG builds this movement through leadership development, intersectional analysis, and organizing.
Since 1993, SONG has been known, both regionally and nationally, for its organizing and training work across issues of race, class, gender, culture and sexuality with both LGBTQ people and allies. We work to build and maintain a Southern LGBTQ infrastructure for organizers strong enough to combat the Southern-specific strategy of the Right to divide and conquer Southern oppressed communities using the tools of rural isolation, Right-wing Christian infrastructure, racism, environmental degradation, and economic oppression. We formed to build understanding of the connections between issues and oppressions, do multi-racial organizing, and develop strong relationships between people who could and should be allies. During our life as an organization we have learned that movement building requires grassroots organizing, leadership development, deep analysis, listening/data collection, inter-generational relationships, the linking of social movements, and good long-term planning. Some of SONG’s major accomplishments include: crafting the first-ever Southern, LGBTQ-led, traveling Organizing School for small towns and rural places all over the South; training over 100 Southern and national racial and economic justice organizations to integrate work around homophobia and transphobia into their work; holding over 50 Southern sub-regional retreats for Southern Queer People of Color; continuing to be one of the only LGBTQ organizations in the US that truly listens, responds, and represents LGBTQ folk in small towns and rural places; and in 2008 holding the largest gathering specifically for Southern LGBTQ organizers in the last 10 years. Most recently, the coalition-strong campaign in GA where SONG was central in winning an injunction against a key aspect of HB 87 (Arizona copy cat laws), wherein ‘harboring of illegal aliens’ was made punishable by law for individuals and organizations.
Long-term goals of SONG are to build, drive, amplify, and support Southern inter-sectional movement work thru regional capacity building, leadership development, and organizing. All of our work centers the shared interest of women, LGBTQ people, people of color, and immigrants—in who we are as SONG’s leadership and membership, and the analysis and work we create. We start at the place of lifting barriers and breaking the isolation that prevents people from participating fully in economic, social, and political life through creating an organizational home for LGBTQ Southern organizing and LGBTQ Southern people. This creates a space for Southern LGBTQ people to enter a political home: a space for understanding conditions and patterns, building analysis, and organizing. From this space, we grow the work of liberation.
Southerners on New Ground (SONG) was founded after the 1992 LGBTQ Creating Change conference. Three Black lesbians and three white lesbians – Pat Hussain, Joan Garner, Mandy Carter, along with Suzanne Pharr, Pam McMichael, and Mab Segrest – all organizers who had been working in the South, were seeing the widening divide between white LGBTQ people and LGBTQ people of color and the issues that were being talked about and prioritized. They realized that there was a real need in the region, and throughout the movement nationally to broaden and connect struggles for racial, economic, and gender justice that combatted the Right Wing strategy of dividing us (as LGBTQ people) from each other along the fault lines of race, class and culture. So, they started SONG and we have been working to answer the question of how to advance a multi-racial, racial justice agenda over the entire lifespan of our organization.
The Movement for Black Lives
Free From Fear: Dangerous Homosexuals Building Power in Da' South to address profiling and the municipal court, Bri Carter, Brinn Frazier, Southerners On New Ground: Mary Hooks, Cazembe Jackson, Mickey Jordan, Serena Sebring, Eshe Shakur, Tiffany Smith, Dean Stead, Kiesha Webb, Rebecca Wooten.
"Durham Beyond Policing Town Hall"
We are calling all freedom-fighters, all justice-lovers, all truth-tellers, all who can't wait to please join Southerners On New Ground and the #SayHerName crew for a community forum and visioning session. Let's speak our truths and sow the seeds of a new way forward for all our people, with those most impacted, most criminalized, at the center: black and brown people, queer, trans and gender non-conforming folks, working class and poor people, undocumented people ... Let's dream and scheme together and find out ways to throw down for campaigns and direct action that holds the cops accountable
Those indicating attendance on Wherevent included Jillian Johnson, Dante Strobino, James Cersonsky, Nikhil Umesh, Ben Wilkins, Jade Brooks, Marcus R. Bass, Joe Stapleton, Kristen Cox, Hannah Spector, Jose Romero, Nancy Caamano, China Medel, Scott Michael, Alex Biggers, Destiny Hemphill, Cat Crowe, Monique Laborde, Tobi Lippin, Amy Wang, Mitch Xia, Xander Stewart, Smiley Boyd, Mina Ezikpe, Ethan Tyler, Jess Dilday, Jonathan Henderson, Alex Chassanoff, Jacky Chan, Margaret A. Brunson, Alissa Ellis, Magdalene Slerlisk, Saba Taj, Le'Andre Demond Blakeney, Doneatha Green, Kaylan Baxter, Destiny Hemphill, D’atra Jackson, Amy Glaser, Eliza Meredith, Gregory Williams, Victoria Bouloubasis, Umar Salute Muhammad, Patricia Bass, Gen Na, Regan Downey Buchanan, Chanelle Croxton, Ben Carroll, Patrick Snipes, Jess Issacharoff, Mariah Monsanto, Alex Biggers, Jojo Moto, Zachary Faircloth, Sarah Pederson, Stef Bernal-Martinez, Bro Beasley, Ben Wilkins, Jessica Pierce, Isa Bee, Jessica Jude, Tony Hood, Mindy Isser, Rachel Alexis Storer, Moses Ochola, Ade Oh, Lisa Sorg, Blanche Amelia S. Brown, Shilpi Misra, Scott Michael, Afi Apefa Bello, Mary Alta, Anastasia Karkliņa, Lizzie Lindsey, Holly Hardin, Matilda Wormwood, Eli Viszk, Wutang McDougal, Andrew Heil, Fern Hickey, Philip Marschall, Catherine Berman, Bex Kolins, Jen Przewoznik, Equashia Mumin, Eva Panjwani, India Pierce, Sandra Korn, Risa Foster, Ngọc Loan Tran, Eli Meyerhoff, Shanna Ochola, Serena Sebring, Ajamu Dillahunt, Jr., Nagwa Nukuna, Jina Valentine.
As of 2015;
- Paulina Helm-Hernandez - Co-Director
- Caitlin Breedlove - - Co-Director
- Kate Shapiro - Membership Coordinator
- Mary Hooks - Regional Campaign Coordinator
- Hermelinda Cortes - Communications Coordinator
- Serena Sebring - Campaign Organizer
- Salem Acuna - Regional Organizer
- Elias Lyles - Fundraising Coordinator
- Asa King - Staff Attorney
- Roberto Tijerina - Deputy Director
As of 2015;
Kindred Spirit Organizations
- Affinity Community Services
- All My Children Project
- Austin Latino Latina Lesbian & Gay Organization
- Brown Boi Project
- Center for Artistic Revolution (CAR)
- Colectivo Flatlander
- Esperanza Peace and Justice Center
- Femme Collective
- Generation 5
- Georgia Citizen's Coalition on Hunger
- Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights
- Highlander Research and Education Center
- Honor the Earth
- Immigration Equality
- Jacksonville Area Sexual Minority Youth Network (JASMYN)
- Kindred Southern Healing Justice Collective
- May First People Link
- Moving Forward Gulf Coast
- National Day Labor Organizing Network
- National Network for Immigrant & Refugee Rights (NNIRR)
- National Organizers Alliance (NOA)
- National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA)
- National Stonewall Democrats
- Palmetto Umoja
- Pridelines Youth Services @ Miami, FL
- Project South
- Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project (QWOCMAP)
- Queers for Economic Justice (QEJ)
- Sanctuary Collective
- School of Unity and Liberation (SOUL)
- Sister Song
- Southern Movement Alliance
- Southwest Workers Union
- Stone Circles
- Student Action with Farmworkers
- The Audre Lorde Project
- The Design Studio for Social Intervention
- The Ordinary People's Society (TOPS)
- The Southern Center for Human Rights
- The Sylvia Rivera Law Project
- Third Wave Foundation!
- Transgender, Gender Variant and Intersex (TGI) Justice Project
- Women's Project
SONG’s work benefits from the generous and on-going support of our members, allies, sister organizations & coalition partners, and the following foundations:
- Amy Mandel & Katina Rodis Fund
- Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice
- ARCUS Foundation
- Calamus Foundation
- Ford Foundation
- Foundation for a Just Society
- Fund for Democratic Communities
- Laughing Gull Foundation
- Marguerite Casey Foundation
- Southern Partners Fund
- Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation
- SONG About
- [ http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/lets-get-free-southerners-on-new-ground-song-speaks-about-white-racial-justice-organizing-in-black-lives-matter-times-hesaid/ The Good Man Project, “Let’s Get Free”: Southerners on New Ground (SONG) Speaks about White Racial Justice Organizing in Black Lives Matter Times July 7, 2015 by Chris Crass]
- [ http://movementforblacklives.org/schedule/speakers/Movement for Black Lives conference program, accessed November 20, 2015]
- Wherevent "Durham Beyond Policing Town Hall"