September Updates from SVA Sponsored Projects & Frontline Funds

NC Truth Justice Reconciliation Statewide Summit

Beloved Community Center (Greensboro, NC)

On January 20, 2022, an interracial and intergenerational group of 26 grassroots, social justice, and religious leaders met in person at the First Baptist Church in Raleigh; joined by another approximately 160 diverse, mostly North Carolinian participants via Zoom to publicly launch the North Carolina Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (NC-TJRC). Led by Rev. Nelson and Mrs. Joyce Johnson, Co-Executive Directors of the Beloved Community Center in Greensboro and facilitators of the nation’s first-ever Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). Their people-centered movement is aimed at rooting out the state’s malignant culture of falsehood responsible for its current deep divisions, stagnant polarizations, and inequitable access to the state’s prosperity and promise.

This collective is now hosting its first statewide summit and invites all community members from North Carolina to join them for a convergence event at Beloved Community Center of Greensboro, featuring intergenerational panel discussions, social justice & civil rights tours, dynamic training sessions, and international & national presenters. While the events on Tuesday, October 4th, and Wednesday, October 5th are open to the public, the training sessions on the following days are reserved for potential NC-TJRC local site delegates. Register here.

UE Local 150: 25 years of Struggle

Black Workers for Justice (Rocky Mount, NC)

Members of the North Carolina Public Service Workers Union, United Electrical Workers (UE) Local 150, celebrated 25 years of working-class struggle at their 12th Biennial Statewide Convention Aug. 20-21 in Whitakers, NC. Dr. Rev. William Barber II, Co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, was a keynote speaker, along with retired American Postal Workers Union leader Ajamu Dillahunt from Black Workers for Justice and Southern Workers Assembly.

In his introduction, Dillahunt declared that Local 150 is “the feistiest, fiercest and most focused union here in the South” and that the local’s tradition of rank-and-file leadership is “the formula that we need for the battles ahead. The union also reaffirmed its commitment to the struggle against racism, called for the funding of police departments to be reallocated, defended the right to abortion, called for international solidarity, including ending the occupation in Palestine, and raised support for universal single-payer health care — “Medicare for All.” Click here for full video recordings and testimonies from other community leaders and speakers. 

Ajamu Amiri Dillahunt, a Local 150 member at Eastern Carolina University and a member of the Refund Raleigh Freedom Committee, also let delegates know about the “Communiversity,” a project of Black Workers for Justice to provide education on the elements of Southern Worker Power Program and space for workers to talk about how the issues in the program impact them (read more below).

Volunteer for Food Mutual Aid at Pride

Feed Durham (Durham, NC)

Rainbows and glitter and queers, oh my!!! Pride is back this year – In Real Life + Virtual. It’s been soooo long since we were able to dance in the streets while serving up deep, delicious looks and celebrating the fact that WE EXIST. We’re still here! After a tumultuous and uncertain couple years, compounded by stretches of breathtaking isolation, for many, we’re still here. PERIOD.

Feed Durham Fam: On Sept. 24, do you wanna put on something cute and colorful to strut with us in the parade?!? Help us decorate the float?!? Hand out produce?!? VOLUNTEER (IN-PERSON OR VIRTUAL) Email

P.S. What we’ve created together is quite special. Here in NC, most of the orgs that feed folks are religious-based. There aren’t many places LGBTQ+ ppl can feed folks, without fear of judgment or discrimination. Let’s keep building a community where all of us can show up to serve, knowing we are respected, valued, invited, and absolutely necessary. Since 2020, we’ve fed 100,000+ and counting.

Calling All Cultural, Music, and Artists to Address Social-Cultural Crisis

Fruit of Labor World Cultural Center (Raleigh, NC)

More so than any other “Cultural Genres of Music and Art,” the African-American/ Black experience and its field chants/songs, Folk Music, Spiritual/Gospel, Blues, Swing, Rock n Roll, Soul, Jazz, BE BOP, Freedom/Movement Music, Hip Hop and forever evolving forms, addressed as well as reflect the misery of Black/African American life under capitalism. America’s inherent white supremacist, “profits before people,” exploitation, oppression, and sexual misogyny are still central to this country’s capitalist culture!

Historically, we as conscious community/people activists, cultural workers, artists, producers, and radical institution builders/entrepreneurs have made determined, conscious invaluable contributions to unearthing, learning, revitalizing, and rebuilding this tradition of radical roots.

Our people and class deserve to know, study, analyze and understand how we must apply these lessons of our radical cultural arts and music roots to this present moment of moral, social, and political crisis to teach, inspire, and engage others in building a better community, society, and world that we so rightfully deserve!

Are you interested in joining us in investigating, learning, and uniting on how to address the above challenge? Email or call us to join our movement! (919)-876-7187

2022 Sankofa Freedom School

The Marian Cheek Jackson Center (Chapel Hill, NC)

In partnership with Activate! IFC and SVA, the Marian Cheek Jackson Center was proud to host its second Sankofa Freedom School in the NC triangle area. The 6-day interactive and intergenerationally focused local history program took place for two weeks at the end of July 2022. By grounding the program’s core values in self-determination and community storytelling as advocacy, the curriculum material was able to be co-created by 5 high school youth who gave feedback on what kind of experience they wanted. Prior to participation, students had a general understanding of the importance of the fight for social justice but were generally unsure about how to become involved and participate in the fight itself.

Week 1 of the Freedom School focused on the way personal experience contextualizes identity. In order to do this, we dive into the importance of our history, rage, and movement and ended with an in-depth conversation about environmental racism. The Freedom School attendants attended a Pauli Murray Tour from Whistle Stop Tours and learned from the folks at the Pauli Murray Center about the importance of knowing your method of survival.

Week 2 focused on political education, power, and the ability to assess the success of their actions. They participated in a 3-part workshop series that focused on legislative theater, the triad, and assessment led by Je-Naé Taylor at Highlander. The Freedom School Attendants planned a community cookout where Ms. Danita Mason-Hogans was a guest speaker. They presented the material they had been working on throughout their time and spoke to the importance of knowing how their voices could be made to make a difference and how that difference is measured.

People’s Budget Survey

Refund Raleigh (Raleigh, NC)

Did you know Raleigh’s city budget for 2022-2023 is 1.1 BILLION DOLLARS? All of that money comes from PUBLIC TAXES, but the city government spends it without even pretending as if they care about our input. 

Police funding is the *single highest department* allocation at $124 million, while housing gets less than 1% of the budget. Our people are being brutalized by RPD as the housing crisis explodes around us, yet the city is using our dollars to make the crisis worse. 

We need YOU to give your input. Where do you want your tax dollars to go in the city budget? 

Answer our 3-question survey (click here) to tell us what you would do with all that money! With your input, we are launching the Raleigh People’s Budget Coalition: a budget platform that demands our money goes to the needs of the everyday people of Raleigh! 

It’s our money, and we want it (in our communities) now! P.S. If you’d like to volunteer with us to canvass and spread the word about the People’s Budget, let us know on the survey, and we will reach out to you about ways to get involved with us!

Clay Oven Making Workshop

Serenity Hills Retreat Center (Central Piedmont, NC)

Have you heard about the Serenity Hill Retreat Center? It’s a non-profit retreat center in North Carolina’s Central Piedmont region that serves as a natural getaway that is accessible to the movement. On Saturday, October 1st, they will be hosting a free-workshop teaching folk how to make their own clay oven. As a bonus, Serenity Hills encourages all Southern Vision Alliance’s sponsored projects and frontline fund grantees to reach out so that they can use the space at no charge. Email with any questions. 

Southern Workers Power Program Webinar Series

Southern Workers Assembly (Durham, NC)

On Monday, September 5th, the Southern Workers Assembly held the first of nine educational webinars exploring SWA’s Worker’s Power Program, centering on the role and demands of workers as we speed toward the 2022 election cycle. This program is a collaboration with Communiversity, an educational partner of Black Workers for Justice, and the primary objective of this series is to explore SWA’s Worker’s Power Program as a viable platform for workers in the South to collectively build and consolidate workers’ power. 

The series explores past actions taken and their results; the historical context and connection of workers’ struggle to the Black liberation movement; ways to build strong political education on the key issues outlined in the nine-point program; and how it can aid in organizing and building a movement of workers to wage struggle against the accelerated destructive forces of capitalism. As well as learn more about current and key sites of organizing across the South.

They invite you to join them every Monday from September 5 to October 31, 7:00- 8:00 PM EST. Please note your registration will automatically register you for all nine webinars. Register here. 

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