The South

Transforming legacies of slavery into power for people of color, workers, and immigrants

Whether we live in Nashville or New York, Missouri or Massachusetts, most of us want pretty similar things: a good job, a thriving neighborhood, a government that looks out for our needs. We fight for a South where all people are truly free to thrive.

The Challenge

The South has long been a place where the ties between white supremacy and economic injustice are starkly visible.

  • From slavery to sharecropping to segregation, wealthy businessowners and politicians have repeatedly designed racialized economic and political systems. They enrich themselves by exploiting and scapegoating the poor, incarcerated, undocumented, and disenfranchised.
  • Today Southern cities are growing, but corporate-backed politicians impose regressive policies that hoard wealth for the few and deprive residents of the basics we all need. They redirect resources from low-income neighborhoods and communities of color to corporate subsidies and billionaire tax breaks. They try to sell the notion that any job is a good job, and that if you can’t make it by doing backbreaking work for pennies, you’re just not trying hard enough.
  • To maintain their grip on power, those politicians put up barriers to voting and participating in government. They seek to divide us against each other, blaming us — Black and Brown folks, new immigrants, LGBTQ people, the list goes on — for the harm caused by putting corporate profits before people’s lives.

Our Approach

W.E.B. DuBois once said that "as the South goes, so goes the nation.” Similarly, we believe the South is a critical battleground in the fight for justice. If we can transform the South, we can transform our nation.

  • In Atlanta and Nashville, our affiliates are showing what’s possible when working people, residents, faith leaders, racial justice champions, environmentalists, labor unions, and other community advocates come together in Southern cities. They’re winning groundbreaking community benefits agreements on big development projects, training residents to step into civic leadership, running powerful nonpartisan voter registration and civic engagement programs, and demanding public resources go to communities instead of corporations.
  • We’re bringing national resources and attention to Southern cities to both strengthen the capacity of current organizations and support new groups as they get off the ground. Our close partnerships with local leaders are growing institutions that can build long-term power for workers and residents.
  • By connecting together our affiliates and movement partners, we’re weaving local organizing into state and regional power. We’re pushing back when corporate lobbyists get state politicians to block local action to raise wages and protect renters. And we’re making sure the voices of working people and folks of color are heard at the ballot box, in city hall, and at the statehouse.

We can transform the South by starting in our cities.

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