Southwest Key Boycott Brewing?

Activist group calls for full boycott against East Austin nonprofit’s programs

Demonstrators outside of Southwest Key CEO Juan Sanchez's home in late June (Photo by Jana Birchum)

On Tuesday, local activist group Frente de Liberación Inmigrante called for a full boycott of Southwest Key Programs and affiliated businesses in light of the East Austin nonprofit's involvement in migrant youth detention. East Austin College Prep; Cafe del Sol; SWKey's Green Energy & Construction; and the Blooming Florist are among the boycott's targets. Frente has also called on the city, county, and state to end all contracts with Southwest Key and for all community groups to cease hosting their events and operations out of SWKey facilities. Online shop SOMAR ATX; formerly embattled piñata store Jumpolin; the Latino Comedy Project; and Twins Tires have signed on so far. "We recognize Southwest Key as a parasite in our community which profits from the exploitation of immigrant children through their detention centers, and from working-class children through their charter schools and deceptive juvenile justice programs. They are collaborators with Trump's racist, anti-immigrant agenda which has deep roots in the history of this country," the group writes.

Meanwhile, disturbing allegations of mistreatment at SWKey shelters continue to surface: On Aug. 2, ProPublica reported an HIV-positive worker at the nonprofit's Mesa, Ariz., shelter was charged with sexually molesting eight children, and a July 27 article in The Nation details the story of a 6-year-old girl who in June was sexually abused by another shelter child at a SWKey facility in Glendale, Ariz. The Chronicle recently reported on court filings that allege verbal and emotional abuses at SWKey's Casa Padre detention center in Brownsville.

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Southwest Key, Frente de Liberación Inmigrante, Casa Padre

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