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Southern Jam 2013

A Call to Unite and Build a New South!

We are inviting a group of 30 strategists, entrepreneurs, organizers, elected officials, business leaders, thinkers, builders, artists, educators, researchers, philanthropists, non-profit leaders, and all-around visionaries to the Southern Jam.  At this unique moment in history, when the southern political, economic, and social landscape has shifted and America, as well as the world, are in the throes of change, it is timely for us to come together.  You are invited to the historic Highlander Research and Education Center in New Market, TN, from Wednesday, March 13 – Sunday, March 17, 2013, for the Southern Jam.


The onslaught of regressive policies, the backlash in party politics, and the challenges with the economy have hit the South hard.  Anti-immigration forces have passed outrageous legislation, while corporations have orchestrated a more severe takeover of the public education system.  The increased population of people of color is being met with extreme measures of voter suppression, disenfranchisement, and the possible overturning of the 1965 Voting Rights Act by the U.S. Supreme Court.  The list of bad policies just doesn’t seem to stop.  It is time not only to resist these regressive policies, but also to develop strategies to get progressive policies through southern legislatures, to generate meaningful processes, and to grow viable alternatives, that will foster human dignity and respect and build the South of our deepest hopes and dreams. 


What is the goal of the Jam?
The conveners of the Southern Jam envision this as an initial gathering for on-going “think – act” tanks where intentional relationship-building, strategizing, and visioning takes root on the ground and in our day-to-day lives and work. It is important to note that the Jam is not a conference, seminar or a typical meeting. Instead, it is a gathering that works on three different levels in order to support change: the internal (self), the interpersonal (relationships) and the systemic (the whole).  More than 70 Jams have been held with social changemakers all over the world on 6 different continents over the last 12+ years. For more information about previous jams please visit YES! at www.yesworld.org.


Who is being invited to the Southern Jam?
Thirty strategists, entrepreneurs, organizers, elected officials, business leaders, thinkers, builders, artists, educators, researchers, philanthropists, non-profit leaders, and all-around visionaries who are in their 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s, who are based in the region and have a commitment to a progressive vision of the south.


Travel Information, Logistics and Cost
The Highlander Center houses people in a combination of dormitories and houses on-site.  Housing and meals are largely subsidized for everyone who chooses to accept our invitation.  We are asking people to cover their travel costs of getting to the Jam.  There will be a welcome packet to help you with arranging your travel.  For those who cannot afford their full travel costs, there are a small number of scholarships available. For more information about scholarships and logistics, please contact Charity Abrams at charity@emergechange.org and (251) 219-8480.


Who is sponsoring the Southern Jam?
The Jam is being sponsored by the Emerging ChangeMakers Network, YES!, The Highlander Research and Education Center, Grassroots Democracy, and the Southern Partners Fund.


If you are interested in participating in this exciting invitation…
If you want to join us in co-learning, collaborating, and creating region-wide strategies to tackle the current challenges across the South and a fresh vision of what’s possible here, please complete the online questionnaire at www.highlandercenter.org

The deadline for responses is February 8, 2013. We only have space for 30 people and are aiming to bring together a diverse mix of folks, so we will get back to you as soon as possible with next steps.


We are looking forward to Jamming with you!



Jessica Norwood – Alabama
Malika Sanders-Fortier – Alabama 
Elandria Williams – Tennessee  
Erin Byrd – North Carolina 
Cassandra Welchlin – Mississippi
Carlos Perez de Alejo – Texas
Ethan Hamblin – Kentucky
Shilpa Jain – California
The Southern Jam Planning Team