SOCM's Public Meeting and
40th Anniversary Closing Celebration
Saturday, May 18th
State Senator Lowe Finney (D-Jackson), State Representative Gloria Johnson (D-Knoxville) and over 100 SOCM members and friends came to Tennessee State University on Saturday, May 18, 2013 to hear directly from members about the work they are doing to create change in Tennessee.
Destellos Culturales de Nashville started off the Public Meeting with traditional dances from various states in Mexico. Then Board President Noel Johnson opened up the meeting with a welcome and Bedford County member Sadie Hill did the role call to find out where everyone was from. After a short video on SOCM's history and interviews with members, Organizing Director Kazi Wilkins explained the importance of members banding together to build power and create change across the state.
The first presentation was about the fight SOCM members are engaged in for clean and affordable water in Mt. Pleasant, located in Maury County. Next up, E3 (Energy, Ecology, and Environmental Justice) Committee members talked about the history of the committee- how it started out focused on strip mining and has evolved to work on other issues. The group thanked Rep. Gloria Johnson (D-Knoxville) for sponsoring the Scenic Vistas Protection Act and she gave an inspiring speech about how important it is for people to speak up for themselves. Next, the Green-Collar Jobs Committee presented some of its important work this year and invited Sen. Lowe Finney (D-Jackson) on stage to thank him for his work on the Solar Tax Bill. Sen. Finney talked about the need for green jobs and reminded us that although Tennessee is a big state, an issue that affects people in one part of the state, eventually affects other people in another part of the state. "We all live downstream," he said. Next up, two members of the Social Justice Committee talked about the new committee and their current campaign to identify and combat racial stereotypes in the media.
Board Vice President Johnny Farris then explained how SOCM can build power with more members and called for all attendees to make sure they are getting the most out of their membership. He reminded us that there is power in numbers. Destellos Culturales then closed out the Public Meeting with a few more traditional dances.
Attendees left The Forum and moved downstairs for a lovely reception with music by Shelby Bottom String Band. We recognized and thanked the members of the 40th Anniversary Fundraising Team and announced our current total raised as $57,000. Thanks to everyone who has made this fundraising campaign a big success!