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SWOP's 40th Anniversary Podcast Episode 2 Transcript

Marisol [00:00:20] Bienvenidos, SWOPistas. Welcome to our second episode of SWOP's 40th Anniversary Podcast. If you're just finding us for the first time, don't worry. You can listen to the podcast in any order you like. I'm Marisol Archuleta, the chief financial officer of SWOP. At SWOP we don't play when it comes to racial and gender equality and social and economic justice. In this podcast, we're going to bring you pairs of just a few of our favorite SWOPistas, sharing their favorite movement moments and SWOP stories, if you like what you're hearing today. Consider giving us a five-star rating and review on i-Tunes or Apple podcasts. It helps get the word out about SWOP. Also, consider becoming a member of SWOP. You can sign up at You can also donate five or ten dollars to our work. Your money will go to stipends for our youth editing this podcast. Not to nonprofiteers looking to make a quick buck off our community’s work. We are radically transparent. We are not a member of the nonprofit industrial complex.

Kevin [00:01:32] (music) SWOP's 40th Anniversary Podcast is brought you by the Communities for Just Schools Fund. CJSF is a national donor collaborative that links philanthropy with the power of grassroots organizing to transform schools. Our team and grantee partners have learned so much from SWOP about how movements for environment, justice and food justice are connected to our fight for just schools all young people deserve. SWOP youth leaders know that school improvement efforts like social, emotional learning and restorative justice must be about fostering better relationships with our land and with one another. SWOP's organizing for education, justice, food and environmental justice and economic justice is grounded in a vision that centers racial justice, local knowledge and cooperative healing as a key to youth empowerment and is a model for all of us. Thank you SWOP for your partnership and leadership. Here's to 40 more years of building community power. For more about CJSF and our partners, visit or consider adding our podcast to your cue for another good listen and it's called The Schoolhouse: Equity in Education and is available on SoundCloud and i-Tunes.

Marisol [00:02:50] And now here's Amanda Gallegos and Janelle Astorga-Ramos. Amanda is SWOP's youth organizer and Janelle serves on SWOP's board of directors. And they're both absolute treasures to our community. So sit back and enjoy this moment with two important chingonas de SWOP.

Amanda [00:03:09] Hi, ya'll, I'm Amanda Gallegos. I'm born and raised in the North Valley. I've been with SWOP for about 10 years and right now the youth organizer.

Janelle [00:03:19] Hey, everybody, my name is Janelle Astorga-Ramos. I was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in the neighborhood of San Jose. I've been in community organizing since I was 14 and now on the board of SWOP. So, Amanda, it's great to sit down and talk to you today. Did you find SWOP or did SWOP find you?

Amanda [00:03:37] I think he was a little bit of both. My mom was doing her social work internship at SWOP. Her being a single mother I kinda just went with her everywhere. And I quickly became like everybody's kind of tagalong. The organizers were really awesome and kind of took me under their wings right away. And after that, I was just all over from there as soon as I met Emma and joined the youth group. I knew that I would be a SWOP for a long time. What about you?

Janelle [00:04:02] So I think I have a similar situation, too. I was working with Young Women United at the time when I SWOP was doing the YES internship and they were kind of like, hey, you should apply at SWOP. And when I applied the first time I didn't get it. But I just really loved SWOP's, vision and everybody there. So I applied again and I ended up getting at that time and that internship really started my whole SWOP career.

Amanda [00:04:23] So now let's really get into it. What's the craziest SWOP story that you're willing to share?

Janelle [00:04:31] The one memory that I always have that I really love, because I think it was just really fun, was when we were in Mississippi and we were in a hotel room and it was literally like 10 of us in one room because we thought the hotel was haunted. So we were telling each other scary stories and had like candles all around the room. And Curtis from Mississippi was trying to get us really scared. And he accidentally dropped the candle over and there was wax all over the floor. So we spent like an hour trying to get out that wax that we didn't get in trouble and everybody was freaking out. And I I just think that that was one of my when my best memories.

Amanda [00:05:01] I remember that one in Amarillo, just hotel out in the middle of nowhere. And Janelle, you're just insisting that it was haunted. And I was like, nah. And then, sure enough, a month later on Facebook, people were posting videos of like phones floating like crazy stuff.

Janelle [00:05:17] But not only the haunting isn't that hotel, but my room. I was sharing a room with Analisa and we had like infested spiders in that room. So we had to, like, move to Jonathan's room. And we were just we stayed up all night freaking out because we were infested with spiders.

Amanda [00:05:31] Also in that hotel, that's when like a cat. Yeah. Went into mine and Steph's room and was just like chillin like it belong there.

Janelle [00:05:38] Being alone with my parents out of town, it was the first time with SWOP and I was just like, what do I do? I can do anything I want. So I would kind of like try my limits. This one time when we were in Tennessee, I was with Jeriah and we ended up leaving the conference to go try and see like Elvis Presley's house. And we found out that it was like a hundred bucks to get in. So we ended up just taking pictures outside of the house, really fun and crazy. But we got a really sketchy Uber driver and we were kind of scared going back to the conference and getting in trouble for leaving, which was really fun.

Amanda [00:06:10] I think some of my stories are maybe like not podcast appropriate. So here's an example of that. The first time I ever went on a SWOP trip without my mom, without her kind of like supervising me, I click, clacked my ankle, busted my ankle, being like mischievous teenager. And yeah, I was on crutches for like the first week of school. My mom was pissed, didn't talk to me for like a week. And yeah, it was the first time I ever went on a trip by myself. I feel like there's a lot of like out of town shenanigans because when you're at a conference like that's not real life. It's not real life. It's a free for all. So it's always like crazy kind of out of town shenanigans. OK, so this segment is called All Fast. So we're each going to ask each other a question and you're gonna hit me with the first thing that pops into your head. What's your first memory of SWOP?

Janelle [00:07:07] My first memory of SWOP that I can think of off the top of my head was when I first got interviewed by Emma and it was a bunch of people on the table that I didn't know and they were kind of all just staring at me intensely. They try to figure out if I was really an organizer or not. And I think that's the reason why they didn't hire me, because I was kind of nervous and I was like "am I an organizer?" But it all worked out. And I ended up being really good friends with everybody at that table. So for you, Amanda, name a song that reminds you of SWOP.

Amanda [00:07:35] I would say "Worst Comes to Worst" by Dilated Peoples or "Fire in the Youth" by B-side Players. I feel like underground hip hop has kind of a SWOP vibe. Of course, all those like Chicano classics. So what about you? What's a song that reminds you of SWOP?

Janelle [00:07:53] It's without a doubt. "All right" by Kendrick Lamar. Because there's that every conference, every time we're doing anything, that song always has to be played. And this one time in North Carolina, we were in like this auditorium and they played that song for like forty five minutes straight. And everybody was just like so hyped and everybody knew the lyrics. Everybody was getting really, really lit to that song. It has to be that.

Amanda [00:08:13] I remember we were at a protest like a few days after Trump got elected and people were singing that song and they weren't like just singing it. They were like singing it, you know. Yeah, I'm pretty sure it's like on everybody's social justice playlist. Oh, yeah. Does not on your social justice playlist. Like what? What are you doing? If you have a social justice playlist. Because I think we're pretty hardcore for doing that. You think so. I even have like categorized like SWOP social justice playlist I have the one that's appropriate for youth and parents than the one that's not so appropriate.

Janelle [00:08:44] Yeah, I'm not that far yet. I've one playlist of all these cool songs.

Amanda [00:08:48] What's your favorite place that SWOP has taken you?

[00:08:51] The favorite place that I can think of on the top of my head is Mississippi because it was like a 16 hour drive and we were on the van and we're getting on each other's nerves. And I could just hear Jonathan the back of my head saying there's gonna be a tornado roar going to die. And I was just like yelling at him to be quiet and let me sleep. And now we're like best friends. So that trip really connected us. I feel like so in Mississippi, we were there for a voter's conference that one of our partners was putting on. So we were able to talk with a lot of the elders who, you know, started the voting campaigns down in the south and Mississippi and just really getting knowledge about the history of what it means and why it's so important.

Amanda [00:09:32] I think it was the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act. Those good times was a good time. That was my first trip as like a quote unquote, adult mentor, like chaperone. And I feel like I definitely took advantage. But the South, such like a beautiful place, especially like the food I go was think about like the meatloaf.

Janelle [00:09:52] Everything was so amazing there. Like, I felt like I gained like 20 pounds when we came back.

Amanda [00:09:58] What's your favorite conference that you've been to?

[00:10:01] I think one of my favorite conferences was North Carolina because I was the only one from SWOP there. So I really had free range to be wherever I wanted to be. And that was really my time to just chill and relax and really make friends. And I still have a lot of friends from that conference. Now, just because I was by myself, which is really great.

Amanda [00:10:20] I feel like now that I'm over 21, that's been a game changer when it comes to conferences cause like, you know, being youth is dope and that's cool. But being over 21 has just opened up a crazy array of choices. And you go to conferences.

Janelle [00:10:35] I remember when FCYO had their conference here in Albuquerque. I had all the youth come into me and I would like just turn 21 or were already over 21. And they like where were the cool bars? Where do we go? And I felt like really out of it because I have no idea. I'm already 21 and I've never been to a bar.

Amanda [00:10:53] I just think conferences are so valuable because you really get to like exchange culture knowledge with people like in a real way, not a way that it's like a tourist way, but in like a genuine kind of like soul connection. And there's definitely places I've been to that I find more of those connections than others. But conferences are just really important to like build camaraderie, build a movement. And I feel like people don't always give conferences the respect that they deserve.

Janelle [00:11:19] Yeah, not only that, but those relationships that I made at conferences are long lasting. Like once even though they're out of state, like once you get them on social media or email or any, you get to share information. I know with people in San Antonio and Mississippi when I was doing work with South by Southwest, we always shared like what our campaigns look liked and how if one person would win something and another would lose, like what does that look like? Why was it different? What tactics can we use? And it was just really a way to keep the movement going and make it successful.

Amanda [00:11:50] Well, that's going to wrap it up for our second episode. SWOP's 40th anniversary podcast is produced by Monica Braine and Marisol Archuleta.

Janelle [00:12:00] Thanks to my Premo Antonio, Maiesta, for the original music. Mikyle Gray for the logo design. Our editors are one and only Amanda Gallegos here with me today. Perla Garcia, Kevin Campa and Kaylee Barton. And to the sponsors for this episode, Communities For Just Schools Fund and the biggest shout out goes to all those Swopistas out there fighting for justice. Hasta la victoria siempre.

Amanda [00:12:23] Celebrate our 40th birthday with us by becoming a monthy sustainer to SWOP. $10 a month means one hundred and twenty dollars a year, and that can pay for child care, food. The electric bill. It really means a lot to us. Visit our website, and click on that donate button.

Janelle [00:12:43] We'll see you next time.

Charlie Rose [00:12:44] SWOP's 40th Anniversary Podcast is brought to you by the Communities for Just Schools Fund. CJSF is a national donor collaborative that links for philanthropy that links giving with the power of grassroots organizing to transform schools. We are a proud supporter of SWOP, an organization across the country for fighting for education and racial justice. Thank you SWOP for your partnership and leadership over the past four decades. Here's to 40 more years of building community power. For more about CJSF and our partners visit That's

Rosie [00:13:52] Okay, fine I'll do it.Hey, hey, ho, ho. Hey, hey, ho, ho. corporate greed has got to go. Hey, ho ho corporate greed has got to go.

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