What do you do? I do communications for Southerners on New Ground (SONG). At SONG, we have this mission of reaching liberation in our time. We try to offer space for discussion and political analysis with that goal in mind. Liberation is now.
What is your why? I went to college and could not afford it so I moved back home. I was working a bunch of jobs that I didn’t like and so I got most of my community from Tumblr. It’s also around this time I realized I was queer. I followed Richmond specific accounts and that’s when I found some info on SONG. I started meeting a bunch of people. I was trying to find this sense of community that wasn’t just on the internet. I had been going to support groups for transgender people and there were a lot of white folks so I stopped going because they didn’t speak to me. Some organizations have this way of talking about queerness like it’s an overarching thing–like you have no other identity and like nothing else is important. There are so many layers that get ignored. When I brought up race, people acted like I was fucking things up. SONG gave me a very different sense of who my people are. They genuinely wanted my opinion and really listened to me. It was great to not have queerness be this random outlier and having race be central too. SONG saved my life.
I didn’t really have any queer community that understood me and I was just in a generally bad place. I constantly had to explain myself. It was nice to be around different people and gender and sexuality not be a thing that needed to be explained. SONG helped me realize that I could create spaces that I wanted to see in the world. I planned a bunch of events around trans day of remembrance, centering non-binary people of color. All of a sudden I was meeting a lot of people and getting to speak on panels. I would find things to go to then would crowd source to see who else wanted to come with me. It felt really nice to have this local group of people who I knew. I want other people to know community like this and to feel like they can create what they need.