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March 04, 2019

El Nuevo Movimiento-High Country News

SWOP is all over the newest issue of High Country News- as in, our board member Ingrid Ordoñez Campos is on the cover!

Gustavo Arellano's article "Chicano groups are embracing undocumented immigrants. It wasn’t always this way." also interviews our Executive Director George Luján

“You start with a connection first,” says George. “A shared value, then shared problems. History. Or chile. You start talking about chile — everyone can relate to that.” (One of SWOP’s logos is two red and green peppers connected at their respective tips and stem to form a heart.)

“Then you can talk about troubles,” George Luján continues. “ ‘These people are coming and taking our jobs.’ You don’t challenge it right off the bat, because that’s an argument. But you talk it out, and you make connections. You find when to push or stand back. It’s work — it’s not a lecture.” 

“We’re not going to work out everything,” his father adds, “but we can march together.”

February 08, 2019

Seeding the Future-New Mexico Magazine

Project Feed The Hood and SWOP Organizer Stefany Olivas are featured in the March issue of New Mexico magazine, in Alicia Inez Guzmán's article "Seeding the Future."

Food and seed sovereignty, Olivas says, "is having the power to govern ourselves, our resources- land, water, and seeds- the way we see fit." It is a practice, she says, of "agro-ecología, of growing food with our natural environment," a way that "folks across the state who are holding on to traditional ways of water and land use are keeping alive."

June 13, 2018

Our Land: Project Feed the Hood-New Mexico In Focus

Project Feed the Hood is a food justice program in Albuquerque that connects communities with healthy food and young people with the land (and a paycheck). Begun out of the Southwest Organizing Project, a 38-year old nonprofit focused on social justice, Project Feed the Hood has a community garden not far from the Albuquerque Sunport, the Ilsa and Rey Garduño Community Garden, and pilot programs at ten schools, including Van Buren Middle School, where co-founder Travis McKenzie teaches. 

On this month’s episode of Our Land, we visit with McKenzie, SWOP members, student interns and McKenzie’s mentor, South Valley farmer Lorenzo Candelaria.

May 11, 2018

The Great American Read-Bless Me Ultima

SWOP's Youth Organizer Amanda Gallegos was featured in a running documentary by PBS called The Great American Read. Amanda spoke on her experience growing up Chicano and how the book Bless Me, Ultima helped shape her as a youth in New Mexico. Her segment starts around 1 hour 13 minutes.

"The family in this story is very similar to my family. We're very rooted to our land, and to the traditions that have existed here. The reasons why I identify with this book are the same reasons why it was banned." The ban on ethnic studies inspired Amanda to do as much work as she could to enable people like her to grow up in a reality that includes the history, values, and traditions of their ancestors. 

Bless Me, Ultima is a coming-of-age novel by Rudolfo Anaya centering on Antonio Márez y Luna and his mentorship under his curandera and protector, Ultima. Antonio Marez is six years old when Ultima comes to stay with his family in New Mexico. She is a curandera, one who cures with herbs and magic. Under her wise wing, Tony will probe the family ties that bind and rend him, and he will discover himself in the magical secrets of the pagan past-a mythic legacy as palpable as the Catholicism of Latin America. And at each life turn there is Ultima, who delivered Tony into the world...and will nurture the birth of his soul.

"It's important that folks have access to books like Bless Me, Ultima" because we need to see ourselves in literature so that we feel empowered. Our stories as young people of color, as Chicanxs, as New Mexicans, matters."

March 07, 2018

Celebrating International Women's Day with Beva Sanchez-Padilla

Check out this KUNM report on International Women's Day featuring our own Beva Sanchez-Padilla!

International Women's Day is celebrated annually March 8th in observance of the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. This day also showcases the commitment to women's equality, celebrates women's achievements, raises awareness, and highlights gender parity gains.

"On the show today to shed light on this is my guest Beva Sanchez-Padilla, who is native of New Mexico and author of six produced plays. Trained in film, and a published poet she has served as producer/reporter for six different television stations. Presently she is a full time gender justice organizer for the 36 year old SouthWest Organizing Project. In 1972 beva designed and taught the first La Mujer Chicana class at the University of New Mexico under American Studies. And she was honored as co-founder of Women’s Studies at the University of NM on the 40 year anniversary celebration. Beva credits her mother and her daughters for the inspiration of her work over the last 48 years always dealing with the subject of women.

What you'll learn in this episode:

  • How Beva works to articulate, heal, resist and transform women's lives.

  • The projects she supports to empower women to address poverty and violence.

  • What the first International Women's Day celebrated in 1909.

  • Which plants our ancestors used to heal their families."

February 25, 2018

Businesses Turn to BernCo for IRBs (and turn to SWOP for advice)

"Others, like the SouthWest Organizing Project, argue that IRBs are often inappropriately administered regardless of the entity overseeing the process.

Executive Director George Luján said the group has held multiple “Irby” awards ceremonies beginning in the late 1990s, awarding satirical prizes to companies that benefited from lucrative IRBs. The logo for the event was an octopus, tentacles clutching dollar bills.

“If you look at the original intention of these things, they’re supposed to be a way to expand whole industries and create exponential economic growth,” said Luján “Instead, they’re often given to big companies offering low-paying, low-level jobs.”"

February 17, 2018

The Journal Apologizes (kind-of)

Following the publishing of the highly offensive political cartoon in the Albuquerque Journal, many were rightfully outraged and protested. 

"Following the publication, a broad coalition of community organizations and leaders – including ABQ Center for Peace and Justice, the Southwest Organizing Project, N.M. Faith Coalition for Immigrant Justice, former City Councilor and longtime activist Rey Garduño, Albuquerque Friends Meeting and the N.M. Dream Team – was formed. The coalition requested an apology from the Journal and to shape a space within their editorial decisions that includes community voices."

February 16, 2018

UNM Addresses Controversial Artwork

"The University of New Mexico’s Zimmerman Library Murals have been subject to national debate, and UNM has actively been involved in addressing the controversial artwork located in the historic west wing of the library."

January 25, 2018

Travis McKenzie featured as Teacher of the Year 2018

The reasons McKenzie is getting this Teacher of the Year award are myriad. Over the years, he’s worked with many nonprofit organizations to educate young people about food and farming with after school programs, summer camps and field trips. When he worked at the Cornelio Candelaria Organic Farm in the South Valley, he had students come from Amy Biehl High School to work on their senior projects or complete service hours at the farm. “So I would facilitate educational programing for about 1,000 kids a year who came through our farm” he says. Then he worked with the Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP), where he helped eight schools in the International District organize teams to build gardens on their campuses. It was important to have a team of people to support the garden, he says, because “there’s something we call ‘one teacher wonder’ syndrome—usually a school garden is sponsored and supported by one teacher. And if that one teacher leaves, often that garden will leave too.”

January 01, 2020

Women's March 2018 featuring Our Board Members

"Other speakers included Peaches Blackbird (Oglala Sioux/Pueblo of Zia) of Power Through Peace and Ingrid Ordonez, a board member of the Southwest Organizing Project and seventh grade special education teacher. Ordonez came to the U.S. with her family from Chihuahua in 2007. Her father, a police officer, refused to cooperate with the cartels, she explained, and they fled to the U.S. just one month after the cutoff for DACA.

Roberta Rael, founder and director of Generation Justice, began by singing a few lines from the freedom ride gospel song, “Woke up this morning (with my mind stayed on freedom).”

“I woke up this morning, realizing that we are in the battle and for some of us, it is the battle of our lives,” Rael said. “It is the battle of the toxic patriarchy that is married with white supremacy—and the feminine and the divine feminine.”

But there is a way to win the battle, she said. And that’s through love, and through community."

July 30, 2017

Our Sonora is going to Cornell!

Sonora is a University of New Mexico graduate and is heavily involved in community development groups like the Southwest Organizing Project and the Center for Social and Sustainable Systems. She mentors young people and works with marginalized communities, also volunteering in her mom’s Barelas neighborhood.

“I feel like my story is very similar to a lot of stories that we work with,” Rodriguez explained.

In just days, Rodriguez will move to Upstate New York to begin her masters at Cornell University in city and regional planning, a degree she says she will bring right back to the Duke City.

“I think really knowing where you come from really informs where you’re going,” she said, adding that diversity in city planning departments is essential to understanding the needs of undeserved communities like hers.

“I think she inspires not only the young people she works with, she inspires the older people she works with,” said Beva Sanchez-Padilla, Gender Justice Organizer at Southwest Organizing Project.

June 30, 2017

SWOP's Youth Employment Summer Institute (YES!) 2017

SWOP coordinates New Mexico's largest youth employment program in the summer. But this is much more than your average summer job, this is meaningful employment and we need more of it!

June 23, 2017

Clear the Cloud Around Santolina

SWOP Communications Director George Lujan calls out the Albuquerque Journal for lazy reporting and bias around the Santolina development.

June 20, 2017

SWOP Food Justice Interns Featured in Newly Published Book

Growing a Life demonstrates just how influential school and community gardening programs can be for adolescents. Readers follow author Illene Pevec as she travels from rural Colorado to inner New York City, and from agrarian New Mexico to urban Oakland, California, to study remarkable youth gardening programs for at-risk teens.

June 14, 2017

Judge hints he’s open to revisiting sick leave ruling

The Healthy Workforce Ordinance would require Albuquerque employers to provide paid sick time off to workers. If voters approve it, the ordinance will apply to full-time, part-time and temporary workers at any business with a physical presence in Albuquerque.

June 09, 2017

Unique Native American comic book store opens in Albuquerque

After housing their office for the last year, SWOP partner Native Realities Publishing opens their comic book store on the SWOP Campus.

June 05, 2017

Santolina’s water use is a ticking time bomb

The Bernalillo County Planning Commission will soon decide whether it will ignore and jeopardize the region’s water supply as it considers the proposed Santolina development. If the panel makes the wrong decision – to ignore water – and the Bernalillo County Commission approves that decision later this summer, the outcome will jeopardize our region’s public water supply, negatively impact local consumers, and affect taxpayers throughout the state.

June 02, 2017

Santolina Foes Get Partial Court Victory

County Commissioner's Op-Ed Piece Torpedoes Santolina Zoning Change

March 15, 2017

SWOP Hosts Court Accompaniment Training

Creating space for our community to support our immigrant neighbors.

March 06, 2017

World March of Women Honduras Delegation

Our incredible intern Alexandria Lyons went to Honduras to represent SWOP and the World March of Women US Chapter in a tour honor activist Berta Caceres who was assassinated last year.

March 03, 2017

Environmental Racism

This article sums up well the many years our communities have been fighting for environmental justice in the East San Jose neighborhood and how hard elected officials fight to protect the interests of polluting companies.

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