Latino Civil Rights Group Cuts Ties With Southwest Key

UnidosUS cuts East Austin nonprofit out of funding and affiliate benefits

Protesters outside Southwest Key CEO's home (Photo by Jana Birchum)

Following continued allegations of abuse and mistreatment at Southwest Key's migrant youth shelters, the nation's largest Latino civil rights and advocacy group has severed ties with the nonprofit. In a statement issued Monday, Aug. 13, UnidosUS (formerly the National Council of La Raza) writes that three days prior, its executive committee board of directors voted unanimously to suspend SWKey as a member of the UnidosUS Affiliate Network, which includes nearly 300 member organizations. As a result, SWKey programs are no longer eligible for UnidosUS funding or other affiliate benefits. While the statement did not specify how much the local nonprofit would be losing out on, UnidosUS tells us the group has awarded SWKey some $250,000 in grants over the past decade for education, workforce development, and housing.

The group says SWKey "failed to convey that it understands the gravity and magnitude of the situation, it has failed to offer any words of apology or condolence to the victims, or give a sense that the organization is taking any new measures to address completely unacceptable behaviors and practices." Locally, an immigrant rights activist coalition has urged businesses, as well as the city and county, to sever ties with the nonprofit.

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Southwest Key, UnidosUS

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