Welcome! NFG’s Amplify Fund and Funders for a Just Economy were excited to host a virtual learning visit in Nashville, Tennessee with our partners Stand Up Nashville and The Equity Alliance. On this site, you can learn about the learning visit events and access videos, readings, and resources. Catch highlights and quotes shared by participants in our Twitter moment recap.
Virtual Visit Dates:
September 21-23, 2020
Located in middle Tennessee, Nashville has now become one of the fastest growing cities in the last decade since the Great Recession. Through popularizing it’s tourist industry and implementing new regressive taxes to subsidize bringing big companies to the city, the subsequent population increase has led to rising housing prices and rent, and the displacement of many community members and local businesses. While healthcare, higher education, and government continue to be the biggest employment sectors in Nashville, companies like Nissan, Tyson Foods, and Amazon continue to worsen the trend to drive down wages, impact development, and thwart movements fighting for unionization and better working conditions.
Historically, social movements in Nashville catalyzed and strengthened the civil rights movement in the US, and this legacy has inextricably linked the city’s political landscape and its movement leadership today. Community organizations, many of whom rely on their base of volunteer activists, organizers, and people who have been brought into the political process, are the unseen heroes creating a powerful movement for change. Coalition building and collaborative approaches to organizing have built the power of communities in Nashville to pass progressive policy changes. However, more recently, as Tennessee vies for new companies to come to Nashville, these changes have been preempted by the state, thereby squashing policy wins. These challenges have also led to divisiveness in coalition spaces where some focus on “what’s winnable” while others focus on the broader community vision.
As it has been across the country, 2020 has been a challenging year. It has been particularly challenging in Nashville and middle Tennessee, as the area was hit with one of the deadliest storms it has seen in decades due to tornadoes in early March just before the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, there have been over 28,000 confirmed cases and over 430 deaths due to COVID-19. And, after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, MN, Nashville protestors and city council members are demanding the resignation of its police Chief Steve Anderson, whose policing approach upholds structural racism.
Considering the state’s political landscape and this year’s climate, public health, housing, and economic crises, Nashville’s organizers are undoubtedly experts of inside and outside organizing and political strategy. The long history of organizing and power building in Nashville has laid the foundation for recent movements supporting mutual aid and just recovery from disasters, community development, and economic justice.
NFG’s Amplify Fund and Funders for a Just Economy held a virtual learning visit in Nashville highlighting the history of race, organizing and labor and learning how community members are building power to make decisions about the places where they live and working conditions. Each of three sessions shared the incredible organizing and power building work of movement leaders centering Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and other communities of color; migrants; and LGBTQ communities. We are proud to have partnered with Stand-Up Nashville and The Equity Alliance on September 21st- 23rd for this virtual visit.