Vernon interviews community organizer, Silvia Inéz Salazar. Vernon and Ms. Salazar discuss the role she has played in organizing cooperatives in Washington, DC, and how cooperatives can be used to solve community problems. Silvia Inéz Salazar has been organizing housing and worker owned cooperatives in DC for the past ten years. She serves as a Trustee for the Consumer Health Foundation and Board
Member and was recently appointed Board Chair for the Latino Economic Development
Center. As a volunteer organizer and Leadership Council Member for Cooperation DC, she isorganizing worker-owned childcare cooperative in the District of Columbia called
Co-Familia. In 2005, Silvia, along with her fellow founding members, decided to reach out to their
neighbors in an effort to start a tenant association to fix ongoing maintenance problems and
resist displacement to make way for condominiums. The combination of organizing actions,
lawsuits, media coverage, and community support finally caused the landlord to sell the
building to the tenants. Her efforts were instrumental in securing $9.7 million in funding fromthe District of Columbia Department of Housing and Community Development towards the
purchase of the building. In 2011, Silvia and her neighbors converted the Norwood Tenant
Association into an affordable housing cooperative. Silvia led the effort to reach out to District of Columbia government agencies, community
efforts. She is working towards addressing the lack of affordable childcare in her Co-Familia Childcare Cooperative.
Silvia emigrated from El Salvador as an undocumented immigrant at the age of seven. She
volunteers at the Smithsonian Museum of American History where she serves as a bilingual
Spanish-English language docent that leads tours of the museum. In a professional capacity,
she has worked for the federal government at the National Institutes of Health in the area of
cancer social science research since 2003.