The Southern Movement Assembly evolved from a partnership of eight organizations in the U.S. South to a broad collaboration of 14 anchor groups and hundreds of participating organizations. The SMA represents a growing force of coordinated, decentralized movement building in communities affected by policing, economic crisis, ecological disaster, and displacement.
The first Southern Movement Assembly held in Lowndes County, Alabama centered the remembering of historic resistance and frontline battle for political participation. 250 folks from 13 states camped for a night on the grounds of Tent City and listened to elders speak about organizing with sharecroppers for voting rights and developing autonomous political organizations. The power of the convergence and process regenerated the Southern Freedom Movement in the 21st century.
Five regional assemblies have been organized over the last four years with many frontline and community assemblies happening during shared campaigns and organizing drives across 25 sites in one of the largest geographic regions in the U.S. Participants in the assemblies include Up South partners, sites where Black migration continues to shape culture and political repression like Detroit, and Global South partners where communities contend with similar patterns of neoliberal destruction. The assembly allows a deeper learning between and among communities and has sharpened the organizing of formerly incarcerated people and their families, LGBTQ and queer communities, Black youth, Gulf South communities, immigrant farmworkers, and rural Appalachians.