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Javier Benavidez serves as Executive Director of the SouthWest Organizing Project, a multi-racial, multi-issue community based organization found in 1980, with a mission to empower the disenfranchised of the Southwest to realize racial and gender equality and social and economic justice. Javier, a proud Native New Mexican, has two master's degrees from the University of New Mexico (urban planning and public administration) and earned his bachelor's degree in political science from Santa Clara University, California. He has served on the boards of many New Mexican non-profit organizations and previously worked as Communications and Leadership Development Director for the Center for Civic Policy, as well as Speechwriter and Communications Liaison for then-Congressman (now U.S. Senator) Martin Heinrich. Javier and his wife Ann Marie have four children – Annalysa, Mario, Elias, and Felix Ð and live in Albuquerque's beautiful South Valley.