Southern Jam 2014:
A Call to Unite and Build a New South!
We are in a unique and commemorative moment in history. Within this decade we will mark 50th anniversaries for many of the most visible Civil Rights Movement victories and tragedies. From the 1961 Freedom Rides to the 1968 Sanitation Workers strike in Memphis, TN that ended in Dr. King’s assassination, the South’s legacy will be at the heart of national dialogue for the remainder of the decade. We know that the southern political, economic, and social landscapes have shifted and America, as well as the world, and are in the throes of change. Thus, it is timely for us to come together and utilize this moment to articulate our present freedom struggles and support the collective change-work being done in our communities.
YOU – organizers, entrepreneurs, strategists, public officials, business leaders, thinkers, activists, builders, artists, educators, researchers, philanthropists, non-profit leaders, and all-around up-standers and visionaries – are invited to join us for the second annual Southern Jam! We will gather at the Prama Institute, a non-profit holistic retreat center located in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Appalachia, in Marshall, NC from Tuesday, May 27, 2014– Sunday, June 1, 2014.
Click Here If You Want to Participate in the 2014 Southern Jam!
WHAT IS A JAM?
A Jam is a gathering that works on three different levels in order to support change: the internal (self), the interpersonal (relationships) and the systemic (our processes & the whole). It is not a conference, seminar or a typical meeting. More than 85 Jams have been held with social change-makers all over the world on six different continents over the last 12+ years.
WHAT IS THE GOAL OF THE JAM?
The conveners envision the Southern Jam as an on-going gathering and “think–act” tank where intentional relationship-building, strategizing, and visioning takes root on the ground and in our day-to-day lives and work. In 2013, we saw a groundswell of action being taken in the South to challenge unfair policies and regressive socio-economic conditions such as: fast-food workers seeking a living wage, historically disenfranchised communities fighting again for voting rights, immigrants seeking humane recognition in policies, the LGBTQ community seeing progress around the world and experiencing the results of extreme fear and exclusion at home. The Jam offers a week to slow-down and intentionally reflect on our current struggles and work while integrating play, creativity, connection, honest conversation, and dream-building.
On the internal level:
The Southern Jam will allow for purposeful conversation that will be centered on questions like: How do I and how do we thrive and sustain ourselves during life’s transitions? How do I take care of myself, care for, and be taken care of by community? How do I find more balance across the many responsibilities in my life? How do I evolve my work and role in my community? What tools and processes are useful to helping me pause, heal, or center myself?
On the interpersonal level:
The Southern Jam knows that healing across our divides is essential and seeks to explore: How do we create Beloved Community in the South and our day-to-day lives? How do we find connections and common ground across our different forms of social change work, whether it’s reform, resistance, alternatives-creation, new storytelling, or something else altogether? How can we together create forms of dialogue and conversation that center on learning, love, truth, forgiveness and transformation?
On the systemic level:
How can we continue to challenge unfair policies and regressive socio-economic conditions that permeate the South? How can we build and sustain our movement infrastructure? How do we stay hopeful in the face of recession, anti-immigration, environmental degradation, dehumanization, and more? What place does reform, resistance, (re)imagining, and (re)creating occupy in this work? How can we better understand what’s happening state by state and where we have common ground?
On a daily basis our social change-making can be consuming. We must challenge ourselves to ask the fundamental questions that help us explore how we will build and sustain our movement infrastructure (i.e. relationship & networks). These and many more questions will help us build a foundation for the type of work that will bring lasting, transformative change throughout the South.
WHO IS ORGANIZING THE JAM?
The Jam is being sponsored by the Emerging ChangeMakers Network, an organization challenging economic inequality by supporting leadership and financial development in historically marginalized communities in the U.S. South and YES!, an organization dedicated to connecting, inspiring, and collaborating with change-makers through exploratory and innovative programs that meet the evolving needs and opportunities of our world. In addition to being sponsored by the leaders of Emerging ChangeMakers Network and YES!, the Jam will be facilitated and organized by several alumni from the 2013 Southern Jam:
Jessica Norwood is the Executive Director of the Emerging ChangeMakers Network, an organization dedicated to working with inspiring leaders and innovative ideas that end economic inequality. As a leading social entrepreneur in the region, she supports strengthening social enterprise and social investing as a way to build community resiliency. Most recently, she led the Emerging ChangeMakers Network in creating SOUL’utions, a community investment and economic development project that works with businesses in Alabama and the south by providing an accelerator business program, micro-loans, capacity grants and private capital investment clubs in order to strengthen historically vulnerable communities.
Gabriel Santos, PhD was born in Caracas, Venezuela and currently serves as Associate Professor and Chair of Sociology and Criminology at Lynchburg College, where he has taught for almost nine years. During this time, Gabriel has dedicated himself to learning about the social and political conditions necessary to effectively challenge racism, poverty, and homelessness in this city. He has teamed up with lovers of permaculture, college students, longtime city residents, non-profits, and any interested person on learning about what it means to live into beloved community, to experience solidarity, and to discover new avenues for life-affirming imagination.
Jayanni Webster is a native of the South and finds her roots in the delta blues city of Memphis, TN. After 5 years of living in East TN and traveling the world, she recently accepted her calling to work for social change in her hometown. Working towards building community power for racial and economic justice, her praxis pulls from the traditions of intersectionality, black feminism and popular education. She believes that creating spaces for people to be their full selves, practice self-actualization, and self-love is part and parcel of uniting and building a New South!
Ashley Cooper is guided by her insatiable curiosity and reverence for life. As a Co-founder and Learning Facilitator at Mycelium, she designs and facilitates learning programs where people feel inspired to be genuine with each other, discover deeper connections with their authentic self, and find the courage and confidence to take the next necessary bold step in their life. Over the the last 15 years, Ashley has worked in a variety of settings from organizational strategy with foundations and non-profits to curriculum development and programmatic implementation in schools and communities. Ashley was born and raised in the south and currently lives in Asheville, NC.
Adriane Williams, Ph.D., has recently returned to the South to work full-time toward the healing of her hometown, Memphis, Tennessee. She arrived with a vision for her work but no clear sense of how to realize it until she attended the Southern Jam in 2013. Having become a Jam facilitator and acquired a new set of tools, Adriane has begun to pursue her vision. She works as a network facilitator for a collective impact effort in Memphis that brings together cross sector parties to work toward improving the lives of children and families. She also consults as a mediator and facilitator of difficult conversations to help those committed to eliminating the inequities work with each other instead of at cross purposes. Adriane leaves behind careers in education policy research and academia, but is grateful for everything she learned at those stops on the path.
Michael Otieno Molina is a New Orleans native attorney, author, cultural organizer, arts advocate, public speaker and performer. A graduate of Yale Law School and Xavier University of Louisiana, Mike is an alumnus of the New Voices fellowship program. Michael has authored two novels and stars in the theatrical adaptation of his spoken word novel Mass Transit Muse in 2014. Michael has performed and spoken from Brazil to India, Guatemala to Canada and is Director of Programs for Clarkston Community Center, a Georgia Lawyer for the Arts, board member of the Decatur Arts Alliance, and principal of 5D Stories, a media company producing books, films, music, live performance, and popular education workshops that increase human understanding and catalyze human potential.
Shilpa Jain is currently rooting herself in Oakland/Berkeley, CA, where she serves as the Executive Director of YES!. Prior to taking on this role, Shilpa spent two years as the Education and Outreach Coordinator of Other Worlds and ten years as a learning activist with Shikshantar: The Peoples’ Institute for Rethinking Education and Development, based in Udaipur, India, where she served as coordinator of the Swapathgami (Walkouts-Walkons) Network. All of her work seeks to uncover ways for people to free themselves from dominating, soul-crushing institutions and to live in greater alignment with their hearts and deepest values, their local communities, and with nature.
WHO IS SUPPORTING THE JAM?
YOU (the people who come and offer your time, talents and treasure)
TRAVEL INFO, LOGISTICS, AND COST:
The Jam will be held at the Prama Institute, which houses people in a combination of dormitories and private rooms on-site and offers an eclectic vegetarian dining experience. We are asking people to cover their own travel costs. There will be a welcome packet to help you with arranging your travel. A small number of scholarships are also available to assist with travel costs. Tuition for the Southern Jam is $750, of which $400 covers food and lodging for the time, while $350 covers program expenses. Additional tax-deductible donations above the event price are welcome and help us to provide scholarships to enable the diversity upon which this event thrives. Money should not be a barrier in participating in a Jam, so we will do everything we can to make it work for you to attend.
APPLICATION AND DEADLINE:
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 application online.
We only have space for 30 people and are aiming to bring together a diversity of folks. You will be notified as soon as possible with next steps.
We are looking forward to Jamming with you!
– The Southern Jam Planning Team
Adriane, Ashley, Gabriel, Malika, Mike, Jessica, Jayanni and Shilpa