Celebrating 50 years

Honor the Past • Celebrate the Present • Commit to the Future

In early 1972, a group of working class rabble rousers in East Tennessee, frustrated by the coal industry's abuse of land and people, formalized their commitment to each other under the banner, "Save Our Cumberland Mountains", and by May 25, 1972, the State of Tennessee recognized SOCM as a non-profit organization. You can find out more about our history HERE

50 years later, we look to our past for inspiration and lessons learned, as we continue building the road towards a Tennessee that works for everyone, not just a few. 

We know change doesn't happen overnight, and it doesn't happen by hoping someone else will save the day. Our communities are made better when we look to our own backyard and do the hard work of living into a future of our own making with the people around us. Now is the time to keep building locally rooted, multi-racial, member-led groups in Tennessee that will last beyond an election cycle or a single issue. While SOCM has (and will continue to) adapt and change over time, development of member leadership, and building local power for the long haul is at SOCM's core. 


SOCM is me, it's you, it's us

“People like you help people like me go on, go on... And I hope that when my time is almost gone, they’ll say that people like me helped people like you go on, go on.” 
-"People Like You" by Si Kahn, from the SOCM songbook

Many thanks to everyone who helped us kick off our 50th Anniversary at our Member Celebration April 30 - May 1. It was a wonderful weekend spent sharing stories, learning about campaigns past and present, reflecting on lessons learned, singing, making skits, reuniting with old friends, making new ones, sharing meals, and celebrating with laughter and a few tears.

We have a lot of wonderful things planned to commemorate this milestone in our history including storytelling projects, leadership trainings, parties, and there's even talk of organizing a canoe relay trip! We are also launching a year-long fundraising effort to celebrate 50 years of community power-building and to raise an additional $100k to help us begin the next 50 on strong footing. Building on all the powerful work that our members are doing, these funds will be used to:

  • Expand our base-building and grassroots campaign work through a strategic deep canvassing program

  • Hire another full time staff person to support and expand our ongoing work

  • Launch an Organizing Fellowship program to train up a new generation of organizers

  • Establish a SOCM Organizing Curriculum to train every SOCM member in core organizing principles relevant to their community and their work

  • Grow our SOCM Future Fund to secure SOCM's future for the next fifty years

SOCM is you, it's me, it's us.

Let's kick off the next 50 years of community empowerment in Tennessee, together!

There are several ways to help ensure SOCM continues its important work for 50 more years. Below, please let us know how you would like to commit to SOCM's future. And stay tuned!