The National Council of Elders commends the Southern Movement Assembly for its work to advance human rights movements in the Southern United States, and for its determination to establish and sustain formations in which people of all cultural, economic and racial backgrounds may work together to build a more just society.
Organizers in the Southern Movement Assembly are inspired by the essential principle of community self-determination as they seek to build institutions to serve the people’s needs where government and other conventional civic agencies have failed to protect and provide. In this movement, the SMA is mobilizing people to build parallel institutions to ensure their survival.
The work of the SMA has been undertaken in areas of the South where thousands of citizens remain intransigent in their conservative, racist convictions and practices. We commend Southern activists for their courage to organize progressive campaigns for change amid this atmosphere of long- established white supremacy and social inequities.
Issues of inequity in housing affordability and ownership, police violence and murder, unemployment, incarceration, limited access to food, water and other essential resources are fronts of struggle in the Southern Movement Assembly. We in the NCOE understand that the historical geographical divisions in our movement no longer pertain, as Southern, Northern and communities in all sectors of the U.S. are fighting the same battles against austerity policies that have robbed the people of the standard of living and resources that are their rights as citizens. Therefore, the National Council of Elders sends greetings of solidarity and encouragement to the Southern Movement Assembly as we organize to end the social and political hardships endured by people throughout the United States.
In solidarity, we stand beside you offering our support and skills. As movement elders of the 20th century, we are committed to accompanying leaders of the 21st century in our mutual pursuit of justice. We are eager to share our knowledge and to learn yours with the goal of building relationships and finding among ourselves a path to liberation.