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

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.

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.

Jobs To Move America

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

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.

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.

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 for Economic and Social Justice

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.

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.

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.

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 (TN4All)

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 and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC)

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.

United Farm Workers (UFW) Foundation

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

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.