Earlier this year we opened up 2 stipend positions for young organizers in Mississippi. Our two Youth Organizers, or YOs, have been hard at work helping table for events and do outreach. They’ve also been learning more about what it means to do work with MSSC. We are now proud to announce that we have 2 more stipend positions open.
You’ll be joining our current YOs and QYAB members in our efforts for racial justice, queer resistance, and gender justice work. You’ll have the opportunity to work with other organizations here at home in Mississippi, as well as across the Southeast and across the country.
Apply right here!
This Monday we finally made it back from the windy city, and I am exhausted. Part of the MSSC crew spent nearly a week in Chicago hanging out, scheming, laughing, crying, raging and having a little fun. Anna, Kuuda, Key and myself were in Chicago for the 2016 Creating Change conference. Besides Anna this was all of our first time at Creating Change, for those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, Creating Change is the largest LGBT conference in the world (I think). From what I’ve heard there were over three thousand LGBT folks crammed in the Hilton Chicago for over 4 days. For the most part I stuck to the tracks that involved LGBT youth, undocuqueer, and Latinx work. As an organization the MSSC has recognized the need to not only do more intentional outreach to queer Latinx communities, but also to get more involved with the efforts of organizations like Not 1 More to fight the deportations of our undocumented siblings. With this being said Creating Change was a very interesting conference to attend. From workshops that helped me understand how to better do outreach with Latinx communities to plenaries about the state of feminism there was no shortage of amazing spaces where queer people could come up with amazing ideas and plans for our future. There were also no shortage of spaces that proved to be damaging and problematic for our people. I may not have been in one of those spaces but there was plenty of conversations about it. From trans women taking over workshops that were deemed retraumatizing to full blown protests against pinkwashing there was a lot going on at Creating Change. Honestly I’m proud of my queer and trans siblings for the way they stood up for their convictions and the things that are right. Creating Change was definitely an experience I won’t forget and a decent way to start this new year. We’ll see what the rest of the year has in store.
Atlanta, GA – The Southeastern Regional Organizer’s Convening (ROC) held it’s second gathering this year. The group of LGBTQ Racial Justice organizers from across the region came together to engage in each other’s work and build a framework for accountability and movement building which honors the legacy of Southern movement building and uplifts local organizers and their work.
The group tackled youth leadership development, local-national partnerships, and campaigns. GSA Network Southeast convened organizers as part of the National Association of GSA Networks in an effort to support Southeastern work, which is traditionally underfunded, understaffed, and often co-opted by national organizations. Recognizing these systemic issues in doing national-local partnerships, we at MSSC, along with our partners and friends from across the region work to hold our national and regional partners accountable to the work we’re doing here in Mississippi and across the region through our QYLTS camp.
The first ROC, held in Jackson, worked to lay groundwork for the groups to better understand each other’s work and gauge potential areas for collaboration. At ROC 2.0, organizers built a stronger sense of trust between cohort members, which is vital to doing this work long-term. The group will reconvene in Spring 2016 for ROC 2.5. With the necessary background and trust built, we’ll be convening to make solid plans and work on initiatives that support our collective work and communities across the region.
Nashville, TN – Last year I had the honor of being invited to Southerners On New Ground’s convening, Out South, an amalgam of queer and allied movement folks from all over the south. It was one of the most educational and inspirational spaces I had been in all year. This year’s Out South convening was no different. From the moment we set foot on the beautiful and historic grounds of the Scarritt Bennett Center I knew we were in for a treat. SONG operates by a format that I can only describe as building family into the movement, when you step into a SONG space it’s like going back to your favorite aunt’s house for a special family gathering full of the type of deep conversations and face splitting laughter you’ve longed for all year. While definitely a space to find family and build long lasting connections it is also one of the most informative and growth invoking spaces I have been in this year. While we were there we collectively decided on the topics that we thought should be tackled as queer movement folk in the near future, just a couple of those topics were criminalization of our people and the education system. We spent a majority of that time dreaming and scheming of ways to change the politics and narratives surrounding these topics.
There seemed to be two tracks, one centering around policy creation and work and the other around campaign creation. I spent most of my time in the campaign side of the work. I learned so much from the few days that I spent in this space. SONG also premiered an anthology of their history in a book titled “Liberation In Our Lifetime: 20 Years of Southerners on New Ground” a collection of speeches, writings, and multiple works from SONG founders and members throughout the years, compiled by Hermelinda Cortes one of SONGs staff members. We were privileged enough to sit with some of SONGs founders as they read from this work and talked about some of their best memories, struggles and triumphs in the early days of SONG. Overall I left this space feeling more energized and excited about the work then I have in a long while. I came home with a renewed spirit for the work as well as all new tactics to disrupt and dismantle the opposition. Sometime in the near future you all will see some of the tactics we brought home from Out South.
So stay posted, until next time.