Welcome to the Southwest Organizing Project’s (SWOP) website. We are glad you are here. We hope this website will give the institutions, leaders, and residents of Southwest Chicago the opportunity to connect with one another, tell their stories, and build power for change in the community.
Adapting Work During COVID-19
During SWOP’s Monday staff meeting, staff called in from their homes to share how they are and updates on their work. Everyone is adapting to the changes COVID-19 has brought.
Throughout the meeting, people shared their care and concern for loved ones, for neighbors, for people who are incarcerated in detention centers, prisons, and jails, for people who have lost jobs and work hours, for people who are sick, and for others who are especially vulnerable during the pandemic.
Staff members are caring for the people around them, including people who are sick and those physically distant from them, supporting loved ones whose work does not allow them to physically distance from others, checking in on their communities, and continuing their work from their homes.
SWOP staff and organizers are supporting one another and their communities by working on ongoing projects and campaigns and adapting in response to emerging needs given the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the ways this work has looked include:
Working on ongoing projects
- Having 1-1 relational meetings
- Supporting one another
- Referring people to resources they want and need
- Collaborating with partners at the city and state levels
- Working on ongoing campaigns and projects
- Following up on reporting
- Quantifying program work
- Creating surveys and gathering data
- Helping people connect to resources for home buying, home repairs, and other housing needs
- Communicating over email
- Working on budgets and funding
- Reaching out to local administrators
Adapting to emerging needs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic
- Checking in with youth and supporting young people feeling restless at home
- Calling people to check on their wellness and asking people what their plan is to fill out the census (SWOP made almost 3000 calls in March)
- Learning and sharing various policies and practices during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Collaborating with schools on remote learning plans
- Collaborating with youth activists to do wellness and census calls
- Advocating for people to get what they need for remote learning, including technology
- Advocating to use funds in new ways to respond to emerging needs
- Collaborating online through video calls
- Creating online workshops
- Distributing information about COVID-19, specifically for Spanish-speakers
- Setting up new boundaries so staff make sure to care for themselves and their loved ones at home
- Responding to emerging changes and needs
- Advocating for a variety of services to move online
- Developing and working through task lists given the changes in work routines
- Brainstorming ways to support families at home with virtual activities
- Supporting people learning new technology platforms
These categories are interwoven – these adaptations are possible because of the relationships that have been built over time and organizers have adapted in order to continue their ongoing work.
Want to read more stories about SWOP’s work? They are all here.