From Texas to Florida to Virginia, the American South has long been the battleground for change. The legacy of abolition, reconstruction and desegregation is alive today—in movements to realize the country’s highest ideals of freedom and equality. Many of America’s fights for civil rights are centered in the South—reproductive justice, voting rights, transgender equality, workers’ rights, and more.
The South is quickly becoming one of the most diverse regions in the United States. Over half of the country’s Black population is in the South, and return migration of recent years means the community is only growing. With expanding Latinx and AAPI populations, increasing LGBTQ+ visibility, and a mix of rural and urban communities, the South is a region rich with culture—and opportunity.
At Ford, we believe in the promise of the South to continue to ignite change around the nation. That’s why we’re announcing over $75 million in funding from our historic social bond to support organizations across the region. They’re working on civic engagement and fair redistricting, workers’ rights and economic mobility, LGBTQ+ equality and reproductive freedom, and more.
In our series launching today, Summer of the South, we’ll highlight stories of change-makers across the #JustSouth. Together, they make up the beating heart of the South, rewriting the narrative of the region and America at large.
Organizing for justice in the South has long had a ripple effect, but it takes work to build on that legacy. By supporting justice in the South, we come a step closer to a more equal and free country.