In March of 2019 the Highlander Center lost its main office building due to fire. Investigators found “White Power” graffiti spray painted at the site. This is only the most recent of attacks against the historic institution, known worldwide for its importance to racial and economic struggles for justice in the South. First established in 1932 as the Highlander Folk School on Monteagle Mountain, Highlander quickly became a center of social movement activism and education across the region with many connections to Chattanooga. When the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) launched its labor organizing campaign in the southern states, Highlander became a training center for union members. Later, Highlander took on a larger role in the civil rights movement and racial justice work, with notable leaders including Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. attending trainings and receiving support. The Citizenship School model used across the South to beat racist literacy tests was initially a project created with activists through Highlander. To this day the Center remains as both a training facility and reverent meeting space for organizers and activists across the country.
CALEB respects the historic legacy and continuing importance of this inspiring institution. That’s why we’re partnering with our sister organizations NOAH and MICAH to help raise funds for the Highlander Center across Tennessee through June 8th. Whether $5, $10 or $50, your donation will help Highlander continue its work. As the Center noted in a press release after the fire:
"This is a time for building our power. Now is the time to be vigilant. To love each other and support each other and to keep each other safe in turbulent times. Now is not the time to dismiss how scary things are, which makes it even more important to have concrete assessments of concrete conditions, and sophisticated strategies to build a new world."
Just click the button below to donate. Please share this fundraiser, and like Highlander’s Facebook page to stay informed!
This week CALEB members visited Nashville to attend the Board Meeting of our sister organization NOAH - Nashville Organized for Action and Hope. NOAH's success in effective community organizing around affordable housing, economic equity and jobs, and mass incarceration and criminal justice reform has been an inspiration to multiple groups across Tennessee. It was exciting to see the capacity for action that has developed among their 65 member organizations.
NOAH is now undertaking a listening campaign to connect with community members on the issues closest to the heart of the people in Nashville, building to a commitment around potentially new issues this summer. Yet no issue is as important as the capacity of the people to collectively act to produce change.
We look forward to working together as we build power and act on our shared values with organizations across our state! Thanks to NOAH for their hospitality and support.