WSCO bylaws were changed to increase accessibility for young people ages 16 and up to participate
Staff and leadership at WSCO renewed focus on organizing youth. We held youth-run antiracism dialogue circles, and youth-led mapping of neighborhood toxic sites. Black and Brown youth in particular shared their experiences of being brutalized by police, specifically by the Gang Strike Task force, which was later dismantled. Over the years, WSCO has continued to organize for police accountability including leading the coalition for removing officers from civilian review board in 2016.
Opened up WSCO offices to create space for youth to practice bomba drumming
WSCO participated in the co-creation of The Circulator-- a hyperlocal bus providing West Side youth with free transportation to community spaces and activities
WSCO’s environmental justice mapping project dug into the history of how we got the industrial park on the riverfront, connecting heavy industrial use to health impacts like asthma.
Name changed from West Side Citizen’s Organization to West Side Community Organization
WSCO led nonpartisan get out the vote work as part of our WestSide100 Campaign to reach 100% voter participation in the neighborhood.
WSCO helped prevent a temporary asphalt plant from going up near Plato Boulevard and Robert Street
Friends of Lilydale Park (now an independent group) originated as a WSCO subcommittee
WSCO co-sponsored the Clean Energy Now rally at Harriet Island, calling on Xcel to convert coal-powered plants to burn natural gas; five months later, Xcel Energy announced it would make the change. The new 570 megawatt High Bridge plant went online in May 2008.
The Harriet Island and District del Sol Plans were created
WSCO partnered with other West Side community organizations to launch a youth apprenticeship program, and we trained two youth organizers
WSCO created the Stryker-George Precinct Plan, part of our ongoing work to make sure the City wasn't dictating what development looked like, to invite opportunity to the neighborhood while staying true to the character and needs of the West Side.
West Siders were divided over how to address a proposed megadevelopment on the riverfront called Bridges of Saint Paul, which did not align with the West Side Flats Master Plan. The developer bussed in 100s of employees to vote in WSCO’s board election to try to gain support. WSCO used creative organizing strategies to stop the development, including building a broad coalition of organizations, district councils, and a delegation of 30 West Side youth and Aztec Dancers to City Hall, gaining national media attention. Ultimately the development did not move forward.
WSCO hosted community forums on the cradle-to-prison pipeline and created a legislative report card grading the racial impacts of public policies
WSCO organized youth antiracism dialogue circles in partnership with Cherokee Park United Church and community leaders.
WSCO worked with youthrive on a community event called Peace Jam, which hosted Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu