Creating Change is the largest gathering of LGBTQ activists in the world. This year, it was held January 18-22 in Philadelphia with multiple sessions facilitated by world-renowned activists, leaders, movers, and shakers. Tzedek Fellows led one of these sessions. With over 600 workshop proposals on topics ranging from health care access to direct action strategies were submitted, Biscuits and Bridge Building: Transformative Strategies for Intersectional Organizing in the South was accepted! The Fellows facilitated the workshop on Saturday, January 21 and the response was overwhelmingly positive. Several participants shared that the Tzedek workshop was the highlight of the conference. This is a huge accomplishment.
Interested in exploring strategies for effective organizing in the South? Curious about how the lessons we’ve learned in this region could strengthen your own work? Using real examples collected in the process of working for LGBTQ equality, racial justice, voter engagement, language justice, sexual violence prevention, intersectional K-12 education, and inclusive religious communities, facilitators will share what they have learned while working in the South. Attendees will experience and participate in the Southern Simulation, an exercise designed to gain practice at Southern coalition building.
This interactive workshop provides attendees with a comprehensive understanding of best practices for organizing in the South. In social justice work, the South is often viewed through a lens of deficiency, as a region lacking in skills, resources, and knowledge. We approach this workshop using a strengths-based approach, which highlights the unique contribution of the South to social justice work nationwide. We represent the 2016-2017 Tzedek Fellowship, a program of the Amy Mandel and Katina Rodis Fund, and draw on our experience working for a Southern organization invested in cultivating emerging social justice leaders with an intersectional framework.
The workshop begins by exploring what makes organizing in the South unique and what organizers from other regions can learn from the South. Then, we offer participants practical knowledge informed by our wide-ranging expertise. Participants will then be led through the Southern Simulation. Participants will work in small groups that will be assigned an organizational profile. With the guidance of a presenter, each group will explore how their organizational values and resources inform their approach to a social justice issue that is pressing in the South. Then small groups will be reformed, and participants will be asked to represent their organizational perspective in a coalition-building exercise.
- Participants will learn concrete skills for bringing an intersectional perspective to organizing, advocacy, and education.
- Participants will learn that while coalition building is difficult, it is not only possible but essential.
- Illustrate that with the diversity of Southern organizations, there is still bridge building that can happen.
And in case you were wondering, yes, biscuits were served!