Welcome to the first edition of our new regular series, Featured Resource. Each Featured Resource post will feature an organization doing great work and changing their community for the better. This may be an emergency or crisis service provider or another organization making a significant impact through other work.
This weeks Featured Resource is Southerners on New Ground (SONG)!
SONG is an example of true and inclusive coalition building with a clear purpose and effective strategy. SONG has been doing work in the Southeastern U.S. since 1993 and is an amazing source of leadership and knowledge that can propel the current movements.
A coalition of Southern rural LGBTQ people of color, immigrant people and working class people united in the fight for equal dignity and justice, SONG is an abolitionist organization working to end the
Prison Industrial Complex (PIC). SONG does work regionally and through nine local chapters throughout the Southeastern United States. A movement that reflects the community it represents, SONG “puts the leadership of LGBTQ people – poor and working class, immigrant, Black, Indigenous, people of color, disabled, rural – at the forefront in shaping our region’s legacy and future.”*
As told to dontcallthepolice.com, “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 makes a local impact through its Free From Fear campaigns. These are locally focused, LGBTQ+ led campaigns across the South, regionally connected and aimed at achieving policy and culture change across the South. “Each campaign under the Free From Fear banner is driven by our local chapters and members and tailored to our regional demands to: end money bail, pre-trial detention, and melt I.C.E. As part of our Free from Fear work, we also move bailout work across the region, particularly via our Black Mama Bailout actions, and are working to FreeTheVote and register and provide greater access to voting rights for incarcerated folks.”
Under the Free from Fear banner, each chapter is advancing justice in its community. In the past weeks, the Montgomery chapter partnered with the ACLU of Alabama to organize in support of divestment from police; the Knoxville chapter has been working with community bail fundraising efforts; the Nashville chapter co-hosted a crash course in defunding the police; and the Durham chapter has been advocating for a community initiative to create a Task Force alternative to police, and to keep the force police-free. Each chapter maintains an Instagram account with local updates, and you should absolutely follow and share!
SONG On Policing
SONG knows the importance of alternatives to police for its community and members. “We know that the criminal legal system causes more harm to our communities rather than keeping us safe, particularly to Black, Indigenous, brown queer and trans folks, sex workers, disabled folks, undocumented folks… Abolition requires a simultaneous building of community-based alternatives to interpersonal and structural harm to be coupled with the tearing down of harmful systems.”
SONG’s campaigns for #EndMoneyBail and pretrial detention and #MeltICE advance these goals.
Interested in becoming a part of the movement? Then SONG is interested in having you! “At SONG, we are looking for the people who are looking for us. We are people of all class, age, race, ability, gender, immigration status, and sexuality backgrounds coming together for a multi-issue Southern justice movement.”
*All quotes are from SONG directly, obtained through correspondence by dontcallthepolice.com