The Metro Nashville teachers union hosted a meeting earlier this month for a statewide progressive activist group forming a chapter in Nashville.
In a March 18 post on its own Facebook page, Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment (SOCM) thanked the Metro Nashville Education Association (MNEA) for hosting “the first public event organized by our chapter forming in Nashville/Davidson County.” The MNEA is an affiliate of the National Education Association (NEA).
Pronounced “sock-em,” SOCM is an activist group that has been working for “social, economic, and environmental justice” for more than 40 years, according to the group’s website. The group was known for many years by its original name, Save Our Cumberland Mountains, which reflected its early mission of helping in poor coalfield communities in five northern counties in the Cumberland Mountains.
The group continues to be heavily involved in environmental issues with its opposition to mountaintop removal mining and fracking and its promotion of “water quality justice.” However, it has also expanded its reach into other areas. It lists the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) as one of its partner organizations.
In 2013, SOCM formed a Social Justice Committee that according to its page on the group’s website addresses racism, prison overpopulation, voter registration including restoring felons’ voting rights, and improving access to healthcare. The committee is currently focused on education and has fought against vouchers and for greater accountability for charter schools.