South Texas Civil Rights Project

Alamo, Texas

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stpThe mission of the South Texas Civil Rights project is to promote racial, social, and economic justice through education and litigation. STCRP strives to foster equality, secure justice, ensure diversity, and strengthen communities.

For over 30 years the South Texas Civil Rights Project has provided free legal services to low-income persons, and has implemented the philosophy that community education and organizing go hand-in- hand with court action to solidify legal and systemic changes. We are housed on the grounds of the United Farm Workers (UFW) and La Union del Pueblo Entero (LUPE) Service Center in San Juan, TX and serves the migrant farm worker community and other indigent persons.

We have emerged as one of the foremost proponents of civil rights in the Rio Grande Valley, on the US/Mexico border, on behalf of farm workers and other economically disadvantaged individuals. STCRP is committed to the eradication of social, legal, and political barriers which deny active and equal participation in the benefits of society to low-income, disenfranchised community members. To this end, our work takes us to the fields, colonias, and courts to solidify positive change so that marginalized and disenfranchised people can live with dignity, opportunity, and equality.

We have fought for and won the inclusion of farm workers for unemployment compensation benefits and workers compensation benefits in Texas from which farm workers had been hitherto excluded. The Project helped win passage of field sanitation regulations, seeing to it that toilets, hand washing facilities, and other necessities are available in the fields for agricultural workers. We won a series of cases involving sexual harassment in subsidized housing.

Because of unregulated rural development and a shortage of low-income housing, more than half of the Mexican-American families in the Valley live in unincorporated communities known as colonias, which are essentially rural ghettos. Colonia residents often don’t have access to safe drinking water, sewage systems, electrical utilities, or paved roads. Because of many different reasons, members in the community are prime victims of consumer exploitation, unlawful employment practices, official misconduct by law enforcement officials, and unscrupulous developers charging inflated interest rates.

With our small staff, our programs are an on-going attempt to address the multiple civil rights violations experienced by the low-income people of our area, addressing them primarily through the legal system, education, and community organizing.

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