First of all, thank you. Thank you for all of your love and support over the past four years. We are honored by all the likes, comments and shares you have given us as we have grown. And most of all, thank you for your purchases. Your decision to bring our products into your homes and the homes of those you love has made this next chapter of the Down South story possible.
Eight years ago, my husband, Chuck Reece, launched an online publication dedicated to dismantling stereotypes about Southerners. He was recognized by the New York Times and Time Magazine as a person changing the South. His podcast won an Edward R. Murrow award. When he left that publication last year, he decided to spend some time writing personal essays for Down South and listening to what was going on in the world around him. My husband is a very good writer, as you are all aware. But he is an even better editor. Chuck is a writer’s editor. He knows how to coach up young aspiring writers and tease out genius from the most seasoned of accomplished authors. I know that my writing has benefited from his gentle guidance and for the first time in my life, I feel confident in my writing abilities. He has that effect on people.
Over the past year, Chuck has spent a lot of time listening and thinking about this age we live in. This divided angry age fueled by malice and uncharitable disdain for people who have different beliefs than our own. This is not the South we want to live in. This is not who we are.
When a hurricane hits and the Cajun Navy rolls up in their massive convoy of pickup trucks, boats and American flags, they don’t decide whom to save based on race, religion or political party. A hand is extended to everybody. Everybody gets a blanket. Everybody gets fed. That is the South we want to live in and celebrate.
This new publication, Salvation South, will be about hope, grace and understanding. It will be about getting back to the Golden Rule. It will be about acting like your mama raised you right.
We have some truly amazing Southern writers lined up to contribute to Salvation South. We will be featuring young writers with fresh ideas about what it means to be Southern. Some of that writing may even spill over into the Down South blog, and I can’t wait for you to read their work. Then, of course, there will be contributions from award-winning authors with their own take on the South they love.
Salvation South will start publishing stories over Thanksgiving weekend. And this morning we launched a fundraising campaign to build the capital we need to pay our contributors.
We don’t expect the work from our little cottage and tiny red barn in Clarkston, Georgia will instantly change the South we love so much. But we can offer hope. You can take that hope and use it in your own community to make your part of the South a kinder and more gracious place. Together, we can become our own kind of Cajun Navy, rushing into the chaos and lending a helping hand to all of God’s children. We do hope you come along with us: We can’t do it without your support.
If you can contribute to this effort, we will make it worth your while. There’s even a tea towel or a t-shirt in it for you at certain levels. But even if contributing right now is not possible, come see us anyway. Our content will always be free, and there soon will be a section called Salvation South Dry Goods and Notions where you can purchase Southern goods for the people you love. So y’all come in and stay awhile. There’s room at the table for everybody.