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The Next Generation of Southern Organizing

By providing a playbook for young organizers, Southerners on New Ground encourages college students not simply to stay involved, but to see themselves as leaders in the fight for a more just South.

By Robin Happel


Members of Southerners on New Ground and Black Youth Project 100 during a Black Mamas Bail Out Action in Durham, North Carolina, May 10, 2018. (Photo by Kelly Creedon)

Just over the mountains from Morristown, Tennessee, activists last April crashed a police picnic in Hendersonville to protest their city’s complicity with ICE. Bringing a brass band, organizers chanted, “¡El pueblo, unido, jamás será vencido!” Singing together, dozens of protesters disrupted the picnic until police disbanded the protest.



Renewed resistance in the South and Appalachia has taken many outside the region by surprise. Far from simply a fringe movement, calls to end ICE’s abuses are gaining momentum, even within such perceived conservative strongholds. This sea change is driven in large part by community organizers like Southerners on New Ground (SONG), an Atlanta-based organization defending the rights of LGBTQ+ people of color in the rural South. To SONG and its sister groups across the South, silence is complicity. Letting ICE picnic in peace is not an option, so long as so many others are forced to live in fear. Read Full article here.