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Community Organizers 'Get Organized' in Albuquerque

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January 7, 2010

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Hundreds of community organizers will converge in Albuquerque this weekend to help plan a gigantic get-together: The U.S. Social Forum, to be held in Detroit in June. It is expected to attract about 25,000 people from grassroots groups across the country, coming together to join forces and learn from each other.

Monica Cordova, director of community organizing for the SouthWest Organizing Project, says cooperation in the nonprofit world is more critical now than ever, as many groups are reporting less funding and greater need for their services.

"The economic crisis not only hit us at an everyday level, as far as family and community, but it hit organizations. How do we keep this type of work a priority, and keep doing it to the best of our abilities, with the resources that we have?"

Cordova says the Forum planning meetings are a chance to acquaint people from around the country with New Mexico's issues, politics and the work of its advocacy groups.

At this weekend's sessions, part of the discussion will be about how to involve more people under age 30 in environmental and social justice work. Those who can get to the conference will find its focus is on 'activating' the nation's activists, Cordova says.

"Last time, there were close to a thousand workshops; there'll be, I'm sure, just as many this time around. Everybody will have a space to be able to submit a workshop, attend a workshop that interests them, and just really build knowledge."

Cordova says they plan to send at least two busloads of people to Detroit. To raise money for the New Mexico participants to get to the U.S. Social Forum, this weekend's events include a Saturday night concert at The Launchpad, Albuquerque.

The Albuquerque meeting planning events take place Friday through Sunday at the downtown Hyatt.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - NM