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SWOP 40th Anniversary Podcast Episode 1

SWOP 40th Anniversary Podcast Episode 1

Marisol Archuleta [00:00:17] Bienvenidos to the first episode of the Southwest Organizing Project's 40th Anniversary Podcast. I'm Marisol Archuleta, the Chief Financial Officer of SWOP. SWOP was founded in 1980 by young activists of color who came out of the Chicano rights movement of the 1970s. At SWOP we fight for racial and gender equality and social and economic justice. We use tools of community organizing and we develop leaders to make things happen. We're incredibly proud of the work SWOPistas have done in the past 40 years. In this podcast, we're going to hear from just a small sample of the many folks who make SWOP great. In addition to this podcast, we're working on some other exciting things to celebrate so check out our website or our social media accounts for updates. If you're just hearing about SWOP for the first time, consider becoming a member of SWOP. Very easy. Just sign up at After this short break, we'll be back with our first guests.

Aditlita Archuleta [00:01:21] Support for this fierce podcast comes from, a statewide fund that works to advance opportunities for a self-identifying women and girls so they can lead self-sufficient, healthy and empowered lives. We support gender justice and healing through our grantmaking research initiatives and training and education programs. To learn more about our work visit us at or follow us on social media.

Divana Olivas [00:02:08] Hello. Hi, everyone. Thanks for joining us today. I'm Divana Olivas. I'm 26. I'm a Leo Sun, a Gemini Rising and a Capricorn Moon. I was born in Albuquerque and raised in El Cerro and Los Lunas by Mexican immigrant parents, Armando and Ruth. They taught me a lot about courage, hard work and love. And in 2015, I graduated with honors from UNM with a degree in Chicanx studies and Spanish. And I'm currently a PhD candidate in American studies and ethnicity at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. You know, in my free time, I love to lounge with my dogs. Zia and Dallas, hang out with my older sister, Nara and I love to read books while eating spicy chips.

beva sanchez-padilla [00:02:43] Hi. And I'm beva sanchez-padilla I'm a native New Mexican, born and raised here with my ancestors going back 500 years. I call myself a Chicana. I have written and produced a few plays, made a few videos and written a few poems. But mostly I'm about celebrating, investigating, growing and engaging with communities for peace and justice and love. Divana it's so great to sit down with you today and talk about SWOP. Did you find SWOP or did SWOP find you?

Divana Olivas [00:03:14] Well Beva, I think in my case, it was kind of a bit of both. The timing of it all really makes me think it was fated and it was meant to be for us to find each other. During my junior year at UNM, you know, my mom was unexpectedly diagnosed with stage four cancer and she died five weeks later. At that time, I thought about I wanted to take a break from school, but I decided to stay enrolled for the spring semester because I knew that my mom as an educator herself, it's what she would have wanted. So I enrolled in a Chicanx civil rights course because I wanted to feel inspired by something larger than myself. And in that class SWOP came to me through a lesson we learned about their organizing efforts in the 1990s to hold extractive industries like Intel accountable. Weeks later, when we needed to choose a local organization to explore opportunities for involvement, I actively sought SWOP out. So it's kind of both. And I'm so grateful. What about you? Did you find SWOP or did it find you?

beva sanchez-padilla [00:04:04] Ahhh, well, you know, Divana of the founders of the Southwest Organizing Project are about my age. And you did give your age earlier. (Divana laughs) I'm not going to give mine, though it may sneak out every once in a while. But they were active in grassroots and political organizing in the 70s when folks our age were involved in the Chicano civil rights movement, the anti-Vietnam War movement and SWOP was very much involved in the environmental racism movement when there wasn't one. So this whole thrust of what they were doing then led to the founding of SWOP, a sustainable peace and justice group. So knowing Jeanne Gauna, Richard Moore and Roberto Roibal before the founding of SWOP led me to supporting this fabulous organization that I've been able to stay a part of.

Divana Olivas [00:04:49] Aye, Beva I'm so happy to be here with you. Can you tell me a SWOP story you're willing to share?

beva sanchez-padilla [00:04:55] (Exclaims) Let's see Divana now you know, Divana, in 1986: el Septimo Festival Internacional de Nuevo Cine Latino Americana, the Havana Film Festival, several weeks of films in four venues from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.. Fifty five different countries. I'm looking for my name in the directory of the participants Estados Unidos. Mmmm. Diane Farcord, Sandra Levinson. Alan Frankovich. Martha Wallner. (makes noise) My name nowhere. I hope it's not a problem, I thought. Oh, yes, I know. I'm probably listed under Mexico. Mexico: Maria Rojo. Fatima Fernandez, Santiago Chavez. My name nowhere. (makes noise) I hope it's not a problem. I continued to look and look. Angola, Argelia, Argentina, Australia. Austria, Belgica, Brazil. Bolivia, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czechoslovakia...Chicanos. My name. It wasn't a problem. The Cubans saw us as a Chicano nation. (Singing) Cuba, que lindo es Cuba. Quien la defiende, la quiere mas. What about you Divana?

Divana Olivas [00:06:25] Oh beva, you have me in tears over here. So, my story is about my time as a youth intern with the YES program. It was the summer of 2014. I was 21 years old. I had just turned 21, and most of the other students were in high school. They were like 14 to 17 years old. I felt like I was kind of just the oldest of the bunch. For our last meeting, we split up into groups of four to six and we had to complete the scavenger hunt across the city. So I'm driving a group of like younger high school and middle school age boys. And we just had such a fun time going around to the different sites. The final destination was Cliffs, of course, where we met up with the other groups and celebrated the culmination of our summer internships. One of the youth in my group and who I worked with all summer was Donaldo Yanez Reyes, who was killed in Albuquerque in 2017, may he rest in peace, and whose memory lives on through an internship in his name at SWOP. I cherish those memories I have of him and other youth in Albuquerque. OK, so this segment is called "All Fast". We are each going to ask each other a question and you have five seconds to answer. I'll go first. What's your favorite place SWOP has taken you?

beva sanchez-padilla [00:07:30] Well, let's see. SWOP's belief in international connections as we organize with our own neighborhoods has taken me, believe it or not, to Mozambique, Cuba, Paris, Uruguay, to really observe others very different and very similar to our people. Ah let's see. Divana--name a song that reminds you of SWOP.

Divana Olivas [00:07:55] OK, so I love rap and a song that reminds me of SWOP is Be Healthy by Dead Prez. He's rapping about ways to care for yourself through food choices and it reminds me of SWOP because it was at Project Feed The Hood when I first realized that eating could be a political act. Could you describe SWOP's style?

beva sanchez-padilla [00:08:13] Oh, you're making me think really, really fast. I want to say we're sort of like anarchists and sorta like cyndicalists. But actually, the heart of SWOP's style is really taking the lead from our neighbors to derive our agenda from our communities. We look to our ancestors are antepasados, the kalpulli which is a Mexican Indigenous economic system where our work and our wealth are pooled together and distributed equitably. I think SWOP style is tough love. So Divana where are some of the places or is there a special place that SWOP has taken you?

Divana Olivas [00:08:51] Actually, yes beva, and it was a trip that we took together. It was when we went to San Antonio, Texas in 2015 for International Women's Day. We stayed with your daughters. I was able to meet them. And I just had such a fun time learning from you. beva do think SWOP has changed you?

beva sanchez-padilla [00:09:07] Gee many, many times they've changed me. Let's see. SWOP has fortified my passion for justice by giving me designer tools for organizing. You know, always having a continual lens of global history, local history. And that's even made me more proud, while I'm protecting my land, while we are protecting our land, while we are protecting our water and our air. SWOP has helped me to celebrate my love, mi querencia, mi herencia, de Nuevo Mexico. !Soy manita, y que!. So Divana what's your dream for SWOP?

Divana Olivas [00:09:41] Well beva, my dream for a SWOP is really for the organization to just keep organizing for the next 40 years and beyond.

beva sanchez-padilla [00:09:47] Well, that's interesting, Divana, because I have that same dream and my dream for SWOP is to continue to work at truth telling, at mining real and honest stories with our communities. My dream is that we continue to measure our success not only with legislative change and quantitative data, but that we see qualitative change in our relationships among us. That we co-create healthy environments in balance with the Indigenous wisdom that we own. Well, that's going to wrap it up for the first episode of SWOPs 40th Anniversary Podcast. It's produced by Monica Braine and Marisol Archuleta

Divana Olivas [00:10:28] And big thanks to Antonio Maestas for his original music, Mikyle Gray for the logo design. Our editors Amanda Gallegos, Perla Garcia, Kevin Campa and Kaylee Barton and to the sponsors for this episode And the biggest shout out goes to all SWOPistas out there fighting for justice! Hasta la victoria, siempre!

beva sanchez-padilla [00:10:52] Celebrate our fortieth birthday with us by becoming a monthly sustainer to SWOP. Ten dollars a month means a 120 a year and that can pay for child care, food for a meeting, the electric bill. It means a lot. Visit our website, and click the donate button.

Divana Olivas [00:11:11] We'll see you all next time.

Charlie Rose [00:11:15] is honored to be in partnership with SWOP's NM Con Mujeres initiative. We share the belief with NM Con Mujeres is that to be a feminist is to be committed to justice and responsible for the sacred system of life. Thank you NM Con Mujeres for speaking truth to power and your work to end the patriarchy.

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