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.
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).
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.
In 1984 SVREP opened regional offices in California, and in the following year the Southwest Voter Research Institute was established to seek the opinions of the Latino electorate and to publicize those findings. The institute was renamed the William C. Velasquez Institute (WCVI) as a way to honor and perpetuate William C. Velasquez's' vision and legacy.
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 Get Out the Vote Drives across the country to register, educate, and promote voting in upcoming elections. SVREP also organizes mass phone drives to remind people of upcoming election dates and assists in locating their local voting station. They also lobby local, state, and national government to raise awareness and support for minority focused 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 has become increasingly active in other areas as well, especially that of economic empowerment including: U.S. /Mexico & Latin American relations, and international economic and technical development [The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), The North American Development Bank (NADBank), and LatinoNet].
SVREP is also involved in immigration issues; community organizing; education and training of community leaders and elected officials; U.S. foreign and international policy development; and accountability of elected officials.
With more than 35 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 increasing Latino electorate.
National Administrative Office
1426 El Paso Street, Suite B
San Antonio, Texas 78207
Phone: (210) 922-0225
Fax: (210) 932-4055
California Regional Office
2914 N. Main St. 2nd Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90031
Phone: (323) 343-9299
Fax: (323) 343-9100
Toll Free: (800) 222-5654
Click here for additional contact information