Hometown Organizing Project

Grassroots LGBT leaders in small towns and rural areas will play a defining role in the next chapter of the Southern equality movement, as we strive to achieve full equality in every sphere of life and promote lived equality in every town. Through the Hometown Organizing Project, CSE empowers local LGBT leaders to promote lived equality in towns across the South. We support these leaders with trainings, funding, leadership coaching, and other tools as they engage in advocacy, service and visibility projects. Check out our current HOP initiatives:

Southern Equality Fund: CSE launched this fund in 2015 to provide direct financial support to grassroots organizers and groups doing vital work to promote equality across the South, especially in small towns and rural areas.

LGBTSouth Convenings: In fall 2015, CSE piloted these local convenings, offering one in Hattiesburg, MS, and one in Birmingham, AL. Working with a team of local organizers we planned one-day convenings that focused on a core theme that was identified as a key local priority – health and wellness issues in Hattiesburg; building effective collaborations and relationships in Birmingham. The convenings featured workshops, dialogue and community planning, and relationship building opportunities. We also offered a round of Southern Equality Fund grants at each convening to provide direct support for ongoing local work.

“The LGBT South” Newsletter:  “The LGBT South” is a weekly email newsletter that highlights the voices and experiences of LGBT people living in the South. This newsletter is helpful for journalists, public officials, movement leaders and supporters to stay updated on important topics related to our community. Sign up here.

Coalition Building: CSE is proud to work alongside other social justice organizations and movements to promote equality, dignity and safety for all people. In Asheville, we are an ally in #BlackLivesMatter organizing efforts. Across, NC we are part of the Moral Monday Movement. Led by the North Carolina NAACP we work to advocate for justice and equality across North Carolina and across issues areas.

Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara addresses the crowd at Mountain Moral Monday in Asheville.

Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara addresses the crowd at Mountain Moral Monday in Asheville.

Public Policy Analysis and Support: CSE provides community leaders working on LGBT issues with policy analysis and assists with developing organizing strategies in order to pass local protections. We have worked with community members to propose and pass employment equality measures in Asheville, NC, Buncombe County, NC and Winston-Salem, NC.

Check out this victory in Winston-Salem, North Carolina where, prior to marriage equality being legalized, the city passed a measure out-of-state marriage licenses of LGBT city employees for the purposes of extending domestic partner benefits.

CSE Legal Outreach Coordinator Liz Vennum speaks to WInston-Salem councilmembers about the domestic partner benefits proposal.

CSE Legal Outreach Coordinator Liz Vennum speaks to WInston-Salem councilmembers about the domestic partner benefits proposal.

Speaking and Trainings: Our team loves the chance to be out in the community talking about equality and, schedule permitting, we are available to speak and provide trainings for schools (all ages), employers, churches and community groups.  Email us at info@southernequality.org if you’re interested.