For the past several years, the Applied Research Center (ARC) has coordinated the Better Together program, a multi-faceted initiative that combines research, media, and leadership development to advance racial justice and LGBT liberation. The program is supported and made possible by a grant from the Arcus Foundation.
In 2012, ARC initiated a year-long Better Together Southern Leadership and Action Cohort, which connects and supports a diverse set of Southern leaders working at the intersection of racial and LGBT justice in their communities. To convene the Cohort, ARC established a working partnership with Southerners on New Ground (SONG), a 20-year-old, regional, queer liberation organization comprised of people of color, immigrants, undocumented people, people with disabilities and working class, and rural and small-town LGBTQ individuals from the South The current Better Together Cohort includes 22 leaders and organizers from eleven organizations, spanning 10 states.
The newest briefing paper of the Better Together was co-authored by HIFIS Research Fellow Darren Arquero, titled "Better Together in the South: Building Movements across Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation. The briefing paper examines the challenges and opportunities that arise when the movement for racial justice is connected to that of LGBTQ liberation in the U.S. South. Drawing on lessons learned from the cohort, the paper shares strategies for advancing change in the South and beyond. Three key themes for progressive movement building in the South are intersectionality, unity, and visibility. To illustrate these themes in actin we present brief profiles of four organizations: the Freedom Center for Social Justice (FCSJ), in Charloote, BreakOUT! in New Orleans, SPARK IN Atlanta, and the Center for Artistic Revolution (CAR) in Arkansas.
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