The Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP) is always asking the question of how to best engage the community and knows that work in community means forming powerful bonds with people . This includes creating spaces where the future of their community can thrive and develop to see themselves as leaders. To meet this goal, SWOP organizers leverage their connections with one another, with other organizations and with the young people within their community. Through these efforts, two youth leaders put together a summer youth action called Summer with SWOP.
Luz and Miriam Hernandez work with SWOP to assist in getting a fresh insight into the needs, wants, opinions and issues many of young people deal with. Although each person is unique, their input allows for a wider perspective into how best to include young people and create safe spaces for them to connect with one another. Miriam, a young person from the community and participant in SWOP’s Winter Youth Kickbacks, had this to say regarding her experience: “The first thing that was different to our experience with the winter kickbacks was the size of the team. There were around 10 of us and now it’s a team of 2 with guidance from Joel. The winter kickback was at a much larger scale than the “Summer with SWOP” and that meant we had to plan around how to make things more intentional in the way we engaged the people we invited. Summer with SWOP was a small get together for the youth to see and hear what their interests are and what they would like to see in the future.” Miriam also shared her appreciation for Dantay Washington, an organizer with SWOP, stating that “I believe that I was able to plan this new event thanks to Dantay, who was our mentor for the Winter Kickbacks. I was exposed to budgeting and organizing amongst other things. it prepared us in a way that I think is irreplaceable.”
SWOP will continue to have future events where they develop young leaders and have conversations centered around building power and building capacity. For news on future events, check out our calendar.