SouthWest Organizing Project

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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.

SWOP early leaders

SouthWest Organizing Project May 18

Photo from 1999

It's Flashback Friday! 💥💫💥💫💥

Here we have a photo of SWOP members Ruben Solis Garcia, Karlos Gauna Schmieder, Ruth Contreras, and Xavier Morales. Ruben co-founded and worked for Southwest Workers Union in San Antonio and is the founder of University Sin Fronteras, as well as a long time Chicano activist. Karlos has a long family history with SWOP, currently serves as a SWOP board member and also does great work with Arriba NM. Ruth is a long time community activist and member, and provided much service during her history at SWOP. Xavier Morales has an extensive history volunteering for SWOP during his early years (he actually built SWOP's first website!) and is currently the Executive Director of The Praxis Project.

Forward Motion/CrossRoads

Richard Moore, Co-Director of the SouthWest Organizing Project, and board member of the SouthWest Network for Economic and Environmental Justice contributed an article "Defining a movement and a community" to a joint issue of Freedom Road Socialist Organization's Forward Motion, and CrossRoads, April 1992.


As far back as 1999, SWOP activists were joining international protests against the World Trade Organization. More recently, SWOP joined forces with Grassroots Global Justice Alliance and attended the World Social Forum in Tunisia. Delegations from Costa Rica and Nicaragua have also visited New Mexico to share insights with SWOP activists on their organizing campaigns.[1]

South X Southwest Experiment

South X Southwest Experiment is an inter-generational partnership initiated in 2006 by established grassroots social justice organizations: Southern Echo and the Mississippi Delta Catalyst Roundtable in Mississippi, the Southwest Workers Union in Texas, and the SouthWest Organizing Project in New Mexico.[2]

"Building Bridges to Empower a true majority" conference

Louis Head October 24, 2015:


Leroy Johnson, Curtis Hill, Diana Lopez, Julian Mendez, Janelle Astorga-Ramos, Javier Benavidez and Brenda Hyde: Southern Echo, Inc., Southwest Workers Union and SouthWest Organizing Project discuss Accountable Governance and the relationship between organizing, electoral work, and the building of relationships of accountability between communities and public officials. — in Madison, Mississippi.

Board of Directors

SouthWest Organizing Project, as of 2018;[3]

As of 2015; [4]


Staff, as of July 2018;[5]

Staff, as of 2015;[6]

Pushback Network

As at April 12, 2010, the following served on the Pushback Network Steering Committee:[7]