Uplifting Black & Brown Workers

For too long, the South has played host to a race to the bottom, where industries have competed against one another to implement the most exploitative labor policies and poorest working conditions in the country. Decades of activism from Black and Brown communities in the South have revealed an urgent need for sustained coordination to protect workers and stop continued exploitation.

This inaugural investment is part of SWO’s dedicated, long-term commitment to countering historical disinvestments and a legacy of embedded racist oppression in the South. Black and Brown workers across industries are disproportionately impacted – consistently facing unfair labor practices, suffering from low wages, and contending with harsh working conditions.

Key Approaches for Investment

  • Regional and Sectoral Organizing – Direct support for organizing efforts in particular regions and industries
  • Southern Ecosystem Support – Local and regional movement-building
  • Statewide Capacity and Coordination – Civic engagement and policy change coalitions that empower workers


“Delighted to be part of the LIFT Family. The resources will help us achieve justice and human rights in the Mississippi Delta and across our state. Excited to lift up the struggles of Black workers, especially during the pandemic that continues to rage on.”

Jaribu Hill, Executive Director, Mississippi Workers’ Center for Human Rights

Current Grantees


Alabama Arise

Alabama Arise is providing research and capacity support in coordination with Jobs to Move America to organize auto plant workers.

AFT Educational Foundation

The AFT Educational Foundation organizes teachers and parents in predominantly Black school districts in Bessemer and other areas of the state.

Jobs with Justice Education Fund

Jobs with Justice Education Fund and the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers are collaborating to increase accessibility of good jobs in the greater Tennessee Valley Region (in particular Northern AL) for Black and Brown workers through cross-sector strategies.

Labor Council for Latin American Advancement

Labor Council for Latin American Advancement will build power and partnerships with immigrant workers in the Hyundai supply chain in AL and Georgia to lift standards and create good jobs.

Jobs To Move America

Jobs to Move America is a strategic policy center that is transforming public spending and corporate behavior using a comprehensive approach rooted in racial and economic justice and community organizing.

UNITE HERE Education and Support Fund

UNITE HERE Education and Support Fund is training and assisting formerly incarcerated and immigrant workers to secure good jobs with food service, gaming, and hotel employers in Alabama, Louisiana and North Carolina.

United for a Fair Economy

United for a Fair Economy challenges the concentration of wealth and power that corrupts democracy, deepens the racial divide, and tears communities apart.


Community Estrella

Community Estrella is a community-based organization created and led by Trans people. Their mission is to organize, defend and empower TGNC migrants – including in their workplaces – in Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, and Tennessee.

Georgia STAND UP

The Georgia Strategic Alliance for New Directions and Unified Policies (Georgia STAND-UP) provides research, strategy, technical support, and resource development for grassroots community organizing and non-partisan voter education.

UFW Foundation

The UFW Foundation’s core purpose is to empower communities to ensure human dignity.


The Louisiana Budget Project

The Louisiana Budget Project is partnering with Step Up Louisiana to support Dollar Store workers organizing to protect their physical and economic safety.

Operation Restoration

Operation Restoration is filing Deferred Action cases for Black and Brown immigrant workers who have suffered workplace violations or abuse in Louisiana.

Louisiana Just Recovery Network

Louisiana Just Recovery Network is catalyzing & synthesizing the labor & environmental justice organizing work of emerging Southern Louisiana organizations.

Louisiana Progress

Louisiana Progress are building a coalition of workers’ rights stakeholders across Louisiana to grow worker power, with a particular focus on local & state public-sector workers.

New Orleans Worker Center for Racial Justice

The New Orleans Worker Center for Racial Justice is leveraging the federal American Rescue Plan funds for local organizing efforts.


Mississippi Black Womens' Roundtable

Mississippi Black Women’s Roundtable (MSBWR) is a statewide intergenerational network dedicated to advancing women’s economic security through policy advocacy, increasing civic engagement and voter participation among black women and girls, developing transformational leaders for long-term movement building, and engaging in community outreach and rapid response projects.

Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance

The Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance (MIRA) uses advocacy, education, organizing and legal services to expand and protect the rights of immigrants and their families in Mississippi.

Mississippi Workers' Center for Human Rights

The Mississippi Workers’ Center for Human Rights is an organization founded in December 1996 to provide legal advocacy and training for low-wage Black workers. Through direct action/public awareness campaigns, legal advocacy, and popular education, they work with workers to create better workplace conditions and ensure that all workers will be treated with dignity and respect and have equal access to good jobs and humane living conditions, regardless of their race, creed, gender or religion.

One Fair Wage

One Fair Wage works to advance policy, drive industry change, and shift the narrative in order to ensure that all workers in America are paid at least the full minimum wage from their employers. They organize service workers, employers, and consumers to advance local, state, and federal policy requiring One Fair Wage – a full, fair minimum wage with tips on top for all workers.

Southern Rural Black Women's Initiative

SRBWI’s mission is to 1. nourish the internal capacity of women to take responsibility for their own lives, 2. engage women in advocacy and policy initiatives that redirect local, state, and federal resources to help ensure women’s full participation and access to economic and social justice, 3. develop an asset-based economic development strategy that invests in women and communities for a long-term strategy of lifting women out of poverty, 4. build organizational capacity within the region to sustain this work, and 5. connect with women’s groups committed to Human Rights and economic and social justice.

National Council for Occupational Safety & Health (National COSH)

National COSH builds the power of workers and their organizations to demand jobs that are safe, healthy and free from exploitation and abuse.

North Carolina

A. Phillip Randolph Institute

A. Phillip Randolph Institute is working with the NC Building Trades to launch a pre-apprenticeship program to diversify North Carolina’s union workforce building major IRA-funded clean energy projects.

The Carolina Federation Fund

The Carolina Federation Fund is engaging in building relational trust and a common governing vision among at least six membership-based organizations throughout the state, including multiple unions and labor-connected formations.

Durham Employment Network

The Durham Employment Network is organizing and empowering warehouse workers of color.

Industrial Commons

Industrial Commons is organizing industries and workers to improve worker voice, agency, and dignity for people in western NC, creating a model for the region.

North Carolina Justice Center

North Carolina Justice Center is providing legal support and file Deferred Action cases for workers who are organizing across the state and demanding that their rights are respected.

National Black Worker Center

The National Black Worker Center is mobilizing Black low-wage workers to combat oppressive working conditions in meat processing plants and temporary work industries.

UE Research and Education Fund

UE Research and Education Fund is organizing Black and migrant public sector workers across NC to build power and demand better wages & collective bargaining rights.

Western North Carolina Workers’ Center

Western North Carolina Workers’ Center is building power for immigrant poultry processing workers by base building, popular education, and direct actions around workplace health/safety and aggression.

NC Chapter of The National Domestic Workers Alliance

NC Chapter of The National Domestic Workers Alliance is building the collective power of Black child and direct care workers through organizing, leadership development, and advocacy.

South Carolina

Economic Policy Institute

The Economic Policy Institute is building out their Southern Labor Research Table to align research & organizing strategies across the South & lay the groundwork for a new South Carolina EARN group.

SC Progressive Network Education Fund

SC Progressive Network Education Fund is facilitating organizer trainings and effective citizenship workshops with central labor councils, locals and community organizations around the state.

Womens’ Rights and Empowerment Network

Womens’ Rights and Empowerment Network is building South Carolina’s organizing infrastructure by developing the leadership capacity of organizers championing gender and worker justice.

Charleston Alliance for Fair Employment

The Charleston Alliance for Fair Employment (CAFÉ) builds workers’ organizations that fight for fairness, equality, and democracy in the workplaces and communities of the South Carolina Lowcountry.

Steelworkers Charitable & Educational Organization (SCEO)

The Steelworkers Charitable and Educational Organization (SCEO) is a nonprofit entity of the United Steelworkers (USW) and supports a training partnership linking two of the largest U.S.-based industrial unions with rapidly expanding immigrant worker centers.


Stand Up Nashville (SUN)

Stand Up Nashville (SUN) addresses racial and economic inequality through strategic research, popular education, and organizing. They inspire and empower the diverse base to build a stronger community that values the lives of Nashville’s people of color and working families. By organizing their communities, SUN fights poverty with strategic action around public investment and city planning to create thriving neighborhoods and shared prosperity.

Step Up Louisiana

Step Up Louisiana is a community-based organization committed to building power to win education and economic justice for all. They work with multiracial and intergenerational Louisianans by campaigning, organizing from a racial justice perspective, and holding public officials accountable.

Tennessee for All

Tennessee for All (TN4All) is a statewide table developing a statewide plan to challenge and transform Tennessee’s political and economic system by building worker power.

Tennessee Immigrant Rights Coalition

The Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) is a statewide, immigrant, and refugee-led collaboration. Their mission is to build power, amplify voices, and organize communities to advocate for their rights. Their vision is a stronger, more inclusive Tennessee where people of all nationalities, immigration statuses, and racial identities can belong and thrive.