Stories

SWOP Leaders Rally in the Rotunda

SWOP Leaders Rally in the Rotunda

Early on April 25th, 150 SWOP leaders boarded buses and travelled to Springfield to engage with elected officials.  While there, they spoke about the impact the Teen REACH program has on young people, how Parent Mentors are helping improve schools, and how we need to secure the rights and dignity of all people, including immigrants. Keana Lindo spoke about how she lost her apartment when her landlord was foreclosed on.  She was able to move back to Chicago Lawn when…

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Chicago Southwest Quality-of-Life Plan Maps Road to the Future

Chicago Southwest Quality-of-Life Plan Maps Road to the Future

When SWOP first brought together Chicago Southwest leaders in late 2015 to evaluate their old Quality-of-Life plan and start work on a new one, there was a lot of energy in the room. Leaders who had been involved in the planning more than a decade ago were excited that they had accomplished almost every single thing they had set out to do in the old plan. Newer leaders who were just beginning their first broad community planning process were excited…

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Become a citizen now or help someone to do so!

Become a citizen now or help someone to do so!

By Adriana Velazquez One of the many ways we can build power as a community and protect our families is to help eligible families become citizens.  SWOP is proud to be part of the New Americans Initiative which leads state wide outreach, education, and application processing citizenship efforts. So far, SWOP has led two citizenship workshops on the southwest side of Chicago and are already planning our next one!  The next workshop, where we hope to help over 100 Illinois…

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Elideth Hernandez profile

Elideth Hernandez profile

Marquette School of Excellence on the southwest side of Chicago is a school where a lot of things can go wrong.  The student body is low income, academically challenged, and split almost evenly between African-Americans and Latinos.  But Elideth Hernandez has worked hard to make sure things go right; both at the school and in the community. Elideth, an immigrant herself, has fought to make Marquette a safe space for other immigrant families.  Long before the Chicago Public Schools announced…

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A New Face and New Roles for SWOP

A New Face and New Roles for SWOP

SWOP bids a fond farewell to Joel Rodriquez.  Joel spent several years doing great work with the VOYCE program at Gage Park High School.  So good in fact that the principal asked him to join the staff at the school.  Joel will be working with parents and students at the school and will be primarily focused on recruiting new students to Gage Park.  We look forward to working with Joel a lot in the future. Jamillah Rashad is leaving the…

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Parent Mentor Convention Highlights Important Role Parents Play in Building Dream Schools

Parent Mentor Convention Highlights Important Role Parents Play in Building Dream Schools

On Friday, March 17th, more than 650 parents from across the state come together to celebrate their work, learn new skills, and hear from Sen. Tammy Duckworth.  As the convener of the Parent Mentor Program, SWOP staff and leaders planned and executed the event along with other staff and leaders from the 14 other Parent Mentor partner organizations. Led by Andrea Ortez, organizers Maggie Perales and Adriana Vasquez along with Parent Mentor coordinators Carolina Rivera, Mayra Sarabia, Eugenia Flores, and…

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Solidarity Soup Supports SWOP’s Work with Immigrants

Solidarity Soup Supports SWOP’s Work with Immigrants

On Tuesday, March 7th, a group of well known chefs came together to support work with the immigrant community by selling soup.  Led by Bruce Sherman of North Pond, the chefs produced and sold soup at four locations across the city and in Evanston.  Each person who placed an order received two pints of soup along with the good feeling that comes with knowing they were helping out people with immigration issues. The Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP), along with Centro…

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SWOP Wins Power of Community Award at CNDA

SWOP Wins Power of Community Award at CNDA

More than 1,500 people gathered at McCormick Place to see the Southwest Organizing Project win the Woods Fund of Chicago’s Power of Community Award.  The occasion was LISC Chicago’s Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards (CNDA) 23rd annual ceremony.  SWOP won for its Reclaiming Southwest Chicago campaign; an effort to organize and rebuild a target area in the Chicago Lawn community. For more than a decade, the area between 59th ST. and 63rd ST., Rockwell and California had been targeted by unscrupulous…

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Bringing Furniture and More to Chicago Lawn

Bringing Furniture and More to Chicago Lawn

A little more than a year ago, Rafi Peterson and Mary Beth Herr sat down for a one on one meeting in the basement of St. Rita’s Church on 63rd ST.  Fr. Tony Pizzo hosted them as part of a United Power for Action and Justice meeting that brought them together as a way to build relationships and power between city and suburban dwellers.  At first, it might not seem like they had much in common, but through their conversation,…

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SWOP Partners to Provide ESL Classes

SWOP Partners to Provide ESL Classes

SWOP is again partnering with Gage Park High School and Instituto del Progreso Latino to provide English as a Second Language classes for community residents.  The free classes begin on Monday, March 6th. To participate, you need to register and take a placement test.  Registration will take place on Tuesday, February 28th from 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. at Gage Park High School, 5630 S. Rockwell, room 218.  Be sure to bring an id and proof of address.  Participants will also…

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