Albuquerque, NM – At the end of July 2009 South West Organizing Project hosted a 4-day South X Southwest Experiment strategic planning retreat in Albuquerque, NM of more than 40 grassroots community activists from Southwest Workers Union in the San Antonio, TX area, Southern Echo and the MS Delta Catalyst Roundtable in Mississippi, and SWOP in New Mexico.
The long days in the mile high dry heat were framed on the horizon by mountains and volcanoes. The work was grounded by the delicious locally-prepared food throughout the day and evenings, and with hilarious and engaging ice-breakers each morning and afternoon. Younger and older generations of Latino, African American, Native American and Anglo activists toiled zealously to create 4 program tracks: “census and redistricting”, “youth leadership development”, “training curriculum on history, politics and culture”, and “creating a model of accountable governance”. Other issues addressed included immigration policies and gender rights.
The younger people created their own space and developed a program of work focused on building meaningful participation at the US Social Forum in Detroit in 2010.
In the late Fall 2009 S x SW Experiment will hold a summit of public officials and community activists to begin to develop a model of accountable governance, applicable to all levels of government, around which grassroots communities can organize. Date and place are to be determined.
Southern Echo agreed to hold locally-based two-day census and redistricting training workshops in Texas and New Mexico similar to the one held in Jackson, MS in May 2009.