Founded in the midst of historic uprisings, elections and a pandemic, Backbone leads movements by using digital to tackle high impact, high stakes campaigns and causes across the country. We make good trouble and train the next generation to do the same.
My great grandmother had a backbone. Disco “Mama Shug” Moore was born November 9, 1903 in rural Louisiana and would go on to become one of the first Black business owners in the state when she opened Moore’s Café. Mama Shug fed hungry bridge workers throughout the 1950s — and these laborers weren’t building just any bridge. The 24-mile long Lake Pontchartrain Causeway would become the longest bridge over water in the world.
It’s the spirit of trailblazers like Mama Shug, Shirley Chisholm, Pauli Murray and the tenacity of modern organizers that inspired me to launch Backbone: a nod to the Black women and non-binary folks who continue to build bridges that uphold our country’s democracy every election and every day. From our earliest work with Michelle Obama’s When We All Vote and Stacey Abrams’ Fair Fight Action to our history-making electoral wins since, Backbone is bringing the gifts our ancestors gave to continue leading movements in the 21st century. In the prophetic words of Maya Angelou: we rise.
– Jess Moore Matthews, Founder & Chief Good Troublemaker