April 15, 2024

Southwest Organizing Project’s First Quarterly Action Council of 2024

Quarterly, the Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP) hosts an Action Council where community members, community leaders, stakeholders and representatives from member institutions come together to discuss the work, plan things to come, and engage in the public life of the community. Time and again these meetings time energize everyone involved as participants learn more about the many different initiatives of SWOP .

On April 11th, 2024, SWOP constituents met at Holy Cross Hospital to review SWOP’s work. In the meeting, Jeff Bartow, Executive Director of SWOP, briefed everyone on how the Reclaiming Campaign is going, noting the 71 completed units with 24 under construction and 44 more units being looked at for development. Jeff and Carlil Pittman, Community Organizer and Executive Director of GoodKids MadCity Englewood, also relayed future plans for proposed projects on 63rd and Western, 62nd and Western, and 71st and Talman.

The meeting continued with updates from SWOP Organizers, Imelda Salazar, Adriana Velazquez, and Quabeeny Daniels; sharing the hundreds of lives that were touched through SWOP’s immigration work, the hard work put in by the Parent Mentor Program, and the employment opportunities offered by the Job & Economic Development team. There were also updates from SWOP’s safety team, CP4P, regarding the many Light in the Night events they had throughout 2023 and the Healthy Southwest team reporting on the impact it had through their Public Health Ambassador’s outreach.

There was a prominent theme throughout the night, pushing heavily on the idea that none of the work happens alone. It is only through the collective action and relationships SWOP and their leaders and organizers have built that allow the efforts to move forward. This message was especially prevalent as everyone engaged in one-to-one meetings to build relationships that will lead to action, with comments ringing out about how energizing the entire experience was. Jeff and Joel Rodriguez, a Community Organizer with SWOP, continued to further push this message of working together with an invitation to an upcoming action on April 21st for the Reclaiming Chicago Campaign and urged everyone to have at least one relational meeting each week for the next six weeks. They also asked for and received a commitment from attendees to participate in one SWOP action in the next three months.

Though this Action Council has come to an end, the excitement for the work to come and the next convening was felt throughout Holy Cross Hospital’s auditorium.

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