Soulforce engages the schools, churches, and political organizations that hold religion as a buttress to racism, sexism, transphobia, homophobia and other forms of oppression.
The Soulforce House program provides leadership training to activists who want to grow that kind of work in their own community with specific focus in areas such as:
Religious colleges and universities
Historically Black Colleges and Universities
Faith communities and institutions
What is the Movement Fellowship?
It is a year-long leadership development program for LGBTQI people organizing in the Southeast. It is comprised of a series of regional gatherings and retreats starting in August 2015 paired with activities and exercises, like mapping resources in your community, that bring what you learn to your community. In addition, Soulforce will be organizing a parallel track of events and projects in which you may participate as you are able that build on/with what you and organizations in your community are already doing. One-on-one mentorship will accompany you throughout the Fellowship.
As example of what this process looks like: An October retreat may focus on how to recruit a team of comrades and build political trust, and if your focus area is Faith Communities, you would spend the next month practicing those skills in your community by interviewing some faith leaders. Each Fellow pursues an individual work plan that pertains to your interest area and provides you the structure to get the feel and taste of a thoughtful series of skills through hands-on experiences.
You will move through a flexible but structured work plan that aligns your interest area with the Fellowship curriculum. Soulforce-hosted actions will also take place that you participate in alongside your own community-based work. Everyone will participate in, at some point, Soulforce's commitment to engaging Christian educational insitutions that harm LGBTQI people and/or People of Color.
In addition, you will have the financial and structural support to develop an individual project that uses what you have learned if you wish. And finally, the Fellowship will help you navigate what comes next for you after the Fellowship, such as organizing, funding, or educational opportunities.
Who is eligible?
Those eligible for a Fellowship are self-identified LGBTQI people living in the South who feel called to work on addressing the manifestations of racism, homophobia, transphobia, and spiritual violence in their own communities.
The 2015 Movement Fellowship runs August 2015 to July 2016. Residents of Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisana, and Georgia are eligible to apply.
Soulforce Houses emphasize and center the leadership of youth (ages 18 to 24) and People of Color. People of all ages, abilities, nationalities and citizenships, economic experiences, races/ethnicities, and faiths/non-faiths are strongly encouraged to apply.
Applicants must be able to explain their interest in and commitment to a focus area, including but not limited to: HBCU's, Christian campuses, Parachurch organizations, or Faith communities.
Nominate someone you know for the Soulforce Southeast House by clicking here today!
*Or apply for yourself below.
Who is a good fit for the Soulforce House Movement Fellowship?
People best fit for a Fellowship would be those who seek to confront violent power through unconventional means; those with a sense of humor and an honest spirit; those whose lived experiences at the margins that propel them to take on this work; and whose creative energies flow both independently and as a part of a thriving team of queer Southern people of all ages.
Because of the regional collaborative nature of the project, regular communication via phone calls, Skype sessions, and regional get-togethers are essential to the program, and so our Fellows are open, honest, and direct communicators.
Fellows need not have experience in organizing to apply, but rather are invited to come with a willingness to take risks and have the work transform them and their communities.
When is the Southeast House?
The Movement Fellowship within the Southeast House runs from August 2015 to July 2016.
Is there an actual house space?
We use the term House to connote coming together and a sense of belonging to a community of organizers, mentors, elders, and supportive staff. While we may use some training facilities more than once for our retreats and regional gatherings, we are not providing a residence for the duration of the Movement Fellowship. Between gatherings and retreats, mentorship check-ins, Soulforce programs and events, conference calls, and ad hoc get-togethers with nearby Fellows will provide a sense of continuity and camaraderie.
What will I learn?
Your yearlong Fellowship will consist of ongoing mentorship, resources, and support from practiced community organizers and political educators as you practice how to plan and implement programming addressing the intersections of race, sex, gender, and spiritual violence in your own communities.
The fellowship includes regular meetings with Soulforce staff, work with elders, a series of in-person retreats with your cohort and regional gatherings, and a thoughtful curriculum through which you will practice skills and concepts like:
How to build and sustain a working team of comrades/organizers
How to do community outreach, collaborate across issues, and build coalitions and networks
How to organize in hostile environments
How to plan creative direct action and host public events
How to budget, responsibly manage finances, and fundraise
How to build a communications plan and use social media for organizing
How to facilitate meetings and workshops, create curriculums for political education, and build a group political analysis
How to create sustainable strategic plans for your community and manage long term projects and campaigns
Space for healing, celebration, building up your resiliency and spirit
What will I do?
We will have 4 to 8 regional retreats and ongoing one-on-one mentorship available for you. Each learning module explored during retreats and/or online will be paired with community organizing activities that let you exercise that skill. Those activities will support your existing interest area (if you have one), foster established and new Soulforce programs that touch on the four focus areas list above, and build the foundation for collective projects and events we'll manifest together as a cohort of Fellows and Soulforce staff.
Throughout, we'll be partnering with community organizations where you live to feed what is already happening there and provide you more local relationships that will sustain you beyond the Movement Fellowship.
How do community organizations play a role?
As a national organization that has staff, roots, and a longstanding programs that engage in the Southeast, we honor the many community organizations that live, breathe, and renew the Southeast every day as their primary or only focus.
Through our recruitment and nomination processes for Movement Fellows, we are nurturing partnerships we have with organizations in the Southeast and building new ones. This summer, we will fine tune our curriculum for the Fellowship and pair those learning modules with activities that are relevant to your and your locale. We are involving community organizations in the planning and implementation of those activities throughout the Fellowship so that Soulforce and our Fellows build up and lend support existing activism in the Southeast.
If you represent a community organization and want to be in conversation with us about how the Fellowship works and how Soulforce and Movement Fellows can knit into your work, please email at House@soulforce.org
What costs are covered?
In addition to covering the cost of travel, room, and board, Soulforce also provides seed grants for independent projects (for those who wish to make use of it.) Most, if not all, of the activities that pair your Fellowship learning with action in your community will be very low cost to free. We will work with you to identify bartered, shared, and cost-free resources as needed, while some funds will be provided specifically for implementation of your independent project.
Depending in the depth and breadth of your aspirations for how you will embody this work in your community, their may be some costs associated such as local transportation. The Fellowship is not meant to function as employment by Soulforce; therefore, there is a good faith assumption that you are excited to create this kind of work regardless in your community and the Soulforce House provide structure, skills, encouragement, and comradeship that sustains you and assists you in leading this work.
What is Soulforce?
Soulforce is a 16-year-old national non-profit that works through relentless, nonviolent resistance to provide healing space, build community and political education, and intervene through creative activism where powerful leaders and institutions use religion against us because of race, sex, or gender. Read more here.
We are not a faith-based organization, but we welcome people of all traditions, non-adherence, and sensibilities of how the world works. We understand that building community and participating in activism can be a powerful way of reclaiming spirit and tradition for some and a means of reclaiming dignity for others who have not vested interest in institutions of faith but understand that all our lives are in conversation with the social, financial, and political power of religion. Watch this video here for more this topic.
How do I get involved?
If you are excited to apply, click the link below. If you don't live in the eligible area but are interested in this kind of work, let's talk about how Soulforce can provide you some introductory training to get started with a team wherever you live. Email Training@soulforce.org for more information.
If you are campus-focused but don't live in the eligible area or the Movement Fellowship isn't the right fit for you right now, email House@soulforce.org to ask how we can help you form a group and get started with a strategic plan for your community.
Apply today here.
Round 1 application deadline is May 15, 2015.
Round 2 application deadline is May 29, 2015.
Questions? Email Yazmeen at House@soulforce.org.
Learn more about Soulforce's values here, and politics here.