In our new political reality, workers who make up America’s emerging majority—workers of color, women workers, immigrant workers, and the structurally unemployed—are under attack. The legacy of racism and injustice that many associate with the old South now threatens us all.

But the South also has another legacy: as the birthplace of labor unions, civil rights struggles, and multi-racial movement building. For 10 years, the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice (NOWCRJ) and the National Guestworker Alliance (NGA) have built on that legacy with a leadership development methodology we call Organizing from the Epicenter. It has built resilience for workers and their communities after profound trauma. And it has led to precedent-setting victories for workers’ rights and racial justice—locally, regionally, and nationally.

At a time when epicenters of crisis are everywhere, and when tens of millions of workers are looking for a path from trauma to resilience, we believe that progressive leadership development in the South holds transformative potential nationwide.

In March 2017, NOWCRJ and NGA are holding a convening in New Orleans called True South: Leading from the Epicenter. We will gather pre-eminent advocates and thought leaders about the role of the South as a gateway to a more equal future, rather than a reminder of an unjust past. We will reflect on the implications of the new presidential administration, and strategize about the opportunity to build an engine of multi-issue, multi-racial, progressive leadership development pipeline in the South that will benefit the whole country.

Convening Overview

NOWCRJ will gather 150-200 local, regional, and national allies on March 17, 2017 to reflect on the implications of the new presidential administration and strategize about challenges and opportunities for organizing a multi-issue, multi-racial progressive movement in the South. The convening will engage participants in a range of strategy sessions, including visioning a new social compact for the new South, developing an invest/divest strategy for reforming the new Jim Crow, and creating an inclusive economy.

True South Tentative Agenda

8:00 am – 9:00 am

Registration & Continental Breakfast

9:00 am – 10:30 am
Welcome/Opening Plenary

10:30 am – Noon
Strategy Design Sessions 1

Noon – 1:30 pm
Lunch/Keynote Address

1:30 pm – 3:00 pm
Strategy Design Sessions 2

3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Closing Plenary

6:30 pm – 9:00 pm
True South Awards Dinner at Dooky Chase

Planning Committee

Will be released once confirmed.


Will be released once confirmed.

Host Committee

Will be released once confirmed.

Fundraising Dinner

Commemorating 10 years of organizing and powerbuilding, NOWCRJ will host an intimate dinner with members, board, staff, and key allies prepared by Leah Chase and NOWCRJ founder Saket Soni. The event will honor the Center’s allies and partners, as well as it members who are leading a new vision for the True South.

Tickets will be available for purchase soon.

Readings/Videos to Frame the Day


The True South Convening is Invite Only. A registration code is required to register. If you received an email about the convening, the code was provided. If you do not have a code, but are interested in attending please email


Accommodation Options

Ace Hotel
Reservation Code: 1703NOWCRJ
Thursday, March 16 $190
Friday, March 17 $289

Loews Hotel
300 Poydras Street
New Orleans, LA 70130
United States
(504) 595-3300
Thursday, March 16 $279
Friday, March 17 $349


For easiest access to New Orleans, fly into the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport Airport Code: MSY.


For more information about the True South Convening email


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