WHO WE ARE
The SouthWest Organizing Project was founded in 1980 by young activists of color to empower our communities in the SouthWest to realize racial and gender equality and social and economic justice. We seek to redefine power relationships by bringing together the collective action, talents, and resources of the people within our communities. We work primarily in low-income communities of color to gain community control of our land and resources.
We are a multi-racial, membership organization with a Board of Directors that is elected directly from our membership. We’re intentional about ensuring that the composition of our staff, membership, and Board represent the communities with which we work. SWOP acts as a vehicle for those directly affected by the decisions of governments to have a greater voice in the process.
At the core of our work is the belief that all families have the right to healthy, sustainable environments in which to live, work, and play.
The only way we can confront the challenges facing us is to organize ourselves, develop shared vision, exchange knowledge, and take unified action.
Organizing is different from advocacy, mobilizing, development or service work, but involves all of them. We build relationships and consolidate perspectives, thoughts and ideas. We don’t do things for people, we do things with people.
Our work takes various forms: direct grassroots organizing campaigns to make social or political change, education and skill building to develop leadership within our communities, and mass-based civic engagement strategies to build and demonstrate the collective power we have through voting.