SVREP is a 501(c)3, national nonprofit organization.
The Southwest Voter Registration Education Project (SVREP), founded in 1974, is the largest and oldest non-partisan Latino voter participation organization in the United States.
SVREP was founded by William C. Velasquez and other Mexican-American political activists to ensure the voting rights of Mexican-Americans in the Southwest.
Today, SVREP conducts voter activities in some 14 states including:
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
It is estimated that SVREP since 1974 has registered 2.5 million voters.
Mission and Operations
SVREP's mission is to empower Latinos and other minorities by increasing their participation in the American democratic process.
We do this by strengthening the capacity, experience and skills of Latino leaders, networks, and organizations through programs that consistently train, organize, finance, development, expand and mobilize Latino leaders and voters around an agenda that reflects their values. Thus, SVREP's motto: "Su Voto Es Su Voz" (Your Vote is Your Voice).
The mission of SVREP is to, "Empower Latinos and other minorities by increasing their participation in the American democratic process. SVREP accomplishes this by strengthening the capacity, experience and skills of Latino leaders, networks, and organizations through programs that consistently train, organize, finance, development, expand and mobilize Latino leaders and voters around an agenda that reflects their values. Thus, SVREP's motto is: "Su Voto Es Su Voz" (Your Vote is Your Voice).” “Willy”, as William C. Velasquez was known to his colleagues, imagined a society that would allow Latinos to actively participate and lead in the democratic process.
SVREP sponsors voter registration projects across the country to register, educate, and promote voting in upcoming elections. SVREP also organizes nonpartisan get-out-the-vote drives to remind people of upcoming election dates. They also advocate at the local, state, and national levels to raise awareness and support voting rights issues.
Another key initiative that SVREP sponsors is their Latino Academy. This academy prepares and educates individuals on public speaking, governance, and political activism; once participants have completed the training tracts they are eligible to act as project coordinators, treasurers, and chairs for a voter registration project in their community. Through the program individuals are exposed to grassroots organizing and voter registration and mobilization. There are two participatory levels for individuals, one being centered on youth and one for experienced activists. SVREP also offers financial assistance to cover the cost of room, board, and training materials for those that cannot cover their own expenses.
This is relevant today because of the growing clout of Latino voters.
Leadership and Advocacy
Over the course of 20 years, SVREP has been at the forefront of major social and political gains for Latinos in the U.S. and throughout Latin America. While its primary mission is voter registration and education, within the last ten years,
SVREP is also involved in community organizing; education, accountability and training of community leaders and elected officials.
With nearly 60 million Latinos in the U.S., SVREP's messages and efforts address broad-based human concerns that cross-cultural barriers and apply to all people. Through the use of telecommunications technologies and the media, SVREP hopes to continue providing voter outreach and education, increase civic and economic participation, and strengthen the growing Latino electorate.
SVREP founder Willie Velasquez tried to found SVREP in 1969 but was thwarted because Willie was a target of the FBI’s infamous COINTELPRO effort to counter-organize “subversive” individuals. As a co-founder of the Mexican American Youth Organization in 1965 and the independent third party Raza Unida in 1968 Willie was blacklisted by the FBI. Nevertheless after five years of persistence SVREP was authorized by the IRS and opened its national office in 1974 in San Antonio, Texas. In 1984 SVREP opened regional offices in Los Angeles, California.
Antonio Gonzalez, President
Antonio Gonzalez is President of the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project (SVREP). SVREP, founded in 1974, is the largest and oldest non-partisan Latino voter participation organization in the U.S.
Gonzalez assumed the presidency of SVREP in 1994, after working in various capacities for SVREP founding President Willie Velasquez as well as his successor Andrew Hernandez during 1984-94. See Antonio Gonzalez' full bio, click here.
Lydia Camarillo is Gonzalez’ heir apparent and has been SVREP Vice President since 1995. See Antonio Gonzalez' full bio, click here.
Lydia Camarillo, Vice President
Lydia Camarillo serves as the vice president of Southwest Voter Registration Education Project (SVREP), the largest and oldest national non-profit, nonpartisan organization of its kind, based out of San Antonio, Texas. Lydia plays a key role in developing and executing strategies for SVREP’s nonpartisan mobilization efforts. Under Lydia’s and SVREP’s President, the Latino participation in the democratic process has almost tripled, from 1994 to today, from 5.4 million Latinos registered to vote to 14.3 million. See Lydia Camarillo full bio, click here.
National Administrative Office
320 El Paso Street
San Antonio, Texas 78207
Phone: (210) 922-0225
Fax: (210) 932-4055
California Regional Office
2914 N. Main St. 1st Floor, Suite B
Los Angeles, CA 90031
Click here for additional contact information