COPS/Metro is a community-leader driven coalition of congregations, schools, non-profits, and unions working together to improve the conditions of families in San Antonio since 1974.

By learning to work together for the public good, COPS/Metro leaders have been able to to work with the business, community, elected leaders to make San Antonio a better place for families. Some of our major accomplishments over the last 48 years include:

  • Leveraged over $2.5 billion for infrastructure in underserved neighborhoods over the last 50 years
  • Founded Project QUEST
  • Spearheaded the Alliance Schools Strategy
  • Developed the idea for SA: Ready to Work and mobilized over 50,000 voters to vote for the initiative
  • Founded Palo Alto Community College

Updates

Bishop Janak Encourages 140 Congregational Leaders to Continue Building the Body of Christ

On Saturday, May 4-5, 140 ministry leaders, women religious, clergy, and seminarians from 31 congregations participated in 'Recognizing the Stranger’ parish leadership development in collaboration with the Archdiocese of San Antonio. The sessions were conducted in English and Spanish and included visitors from IAF sister organization Citizen’s UK who came to learn more about the neighborhoods transformed by COPS' efforts. 

In opening remarks, Bishop Gary Janak expressed his gratitude to the participants and encouraged them to continue building the body of Christ.

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  • Bishop Janak Encourages 140 Congregational Leaders to Continue Building the Body of Christ

    On Saturday, May 4-5, 140 ministry leaders, women religious, clergy, and seminarians from 31 congregations participated in 'Recognizing the Stranger’ parish leadership development in collaboration with the Archdiocese of San Antonio. The sessions were conducted in English and Spanish and included visitors from IAF sister organization Citizen’s UK who came to learn more about the neighborhoods transformed by COPS' efforts. 

    In opening remarks, Bishop Gary Janak expressed his gratitude to the participants and encouraged them to continue building the body of Christ.

    See more

  • COPS/Metro - Designer and Supporter of San Antonio Ready to Work -- Keeps the Heat on City to Make Program Work for the People

    “For the most part, we talked about creating opportunities for people who were unemployed or underemployed to have an opportunity to be part of a new career or to be able to upgrade in an existing career,” [COPS/Metro leader Sonia] Rodriguez said.

    Apprenticeships — in which workers receive paid, on-the-job training — were always on the table, she said. But subsidizing large companies such as construction equipment supplier Holt Cat, auto parts maker Toyotetsu Texas Inc., Toyota supplier Avanzar Interior Products and aircraft maintenance and repair business StandardAero to train existing workers? Not so much. All four companies are receiving training grants from Ready to Work.

    “Subsidies to big employers, this has never sat very well with COPS/Metro,” Rodriguez said.

    Why San Antonio's Expansion of Ready to Work Has Supporters and Opponents Scratching Their HeadsSan Antonio Express News [pdf]

    Garcia: By Frustrating Trial and Error, Ready to Work is Changing LivesSan Antonio Express News [pdf]

     

  • COPS/Metro Calls for Transparency and Accountability as Criticisms of 'SA Ready to Work' Mount

    [Excerpt]

    “If the city paid for it, I would hope the answer is yes,” [Sonia] Rodriguez said after Thursday’s council meeting. “Because that’s the point — that people get the skills, get the certificates, get what they need to be able to actually reach a level of economic stability where they can grow on the career ladder. We want to empower the participants to have those choices.”

  • COPS/Metro Challenges San Antonio's Service Satisfaction: City's Neglected Infrastructure Still a Concern

    Photo Credit: Linda Taylor, San Antonio Current

    [Excerpt]

    Miller points to the formation 50 years ago of Communities Organized for Public Service, now COPS/Metro, as a turning point in the city's willful neglect of low-income, non-Anglo neighborhoods. The grassroots group organized residents to demand drainage, sidewalks, curbs, libraries and other basic services which wealthy parts of town appeared to have an easier time accessing.

    While COPS/Metro's organizing power forced the city to correct course, there's still work to do, Miller said. Complicating matters, San Antonio's flooding problems are only likely to worsen due to the climate crisis.

  • CMA, Texas IAF Featured in National Catholic Reporter

    [Excerpt]

    "Catholic social teaching isn't ideological," [Bob] Fleming said. "It says, 'Go out to the people, talk with them, understand them, let them tell you what's going on.' "

    ....[Sr. Pearl] Ceasar shares Fleming's sentiment about the compatibility of Texas IAF's work and Catholic social teaching. In the 1960s, she studied the documents of the Second Vatican Council, which she said greatly impacted her outlook on the responsibilities of individual Catholics and the Catholic Church.

    "Vatican II didn't address the doctrines of the church; it addressed the relationships in the church and who we are to be as Catholics," Ceasar said. "Meaning that we are to be engaged with people, we are to be engaged in the community."

    For 50 years, Texas IAF Organizing Group Has Drawn on Catholic RootsNational Catholic Reporter [pdf]

  • Vatican official Dr. Emilce Cuda tours West Side with COPS/Metro

    Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller and Dr. Emilce Cuda take a song break during a COPS/Metro dinner last week.


    On Feb. 19 and Feb. 20, COPS/Metro leaders welcomed the Vatican's Emilce Cuda, Secretary of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, for a tour of San Antonio's West Side, followed by a two-day conversation about faith, organizing, and the role of the Catholic Church in confronting the crises facing its communities. Cuda began the visit by touring neighborhoods transformed by the parishes and congregations of COPS/Metro over the last 50 years. On the agenda were the Alazan Creek drainage project, parks, dozens of miles of sidewalks and streets, housing developments for senior citizens, the Texas Diabetes Center, and Project QUEST. It would be impossible to show everything COPS leaders and parishes have done in one day or even a week, but leaders told a few stories to help paint the picture of how ordinary people have accomplished extraordinary things. Quoted in Crux Magazine, Cuda said, “[Francis] said the way to arrive to a better life is better politics, and the better politics to him is a social dialogue, and my work is how to help to his agenda.”
    Read the full article in Crux Magazine here.

     

  • As Ready to Work Graduates Enter Job Market, COPS/Metro Pressures City to Ensure High Quality Jobs Await Them

    [Photo Credit: Ronald Cortes, San Antonio Express News]


    [Excerpt]

    "...not enough San Antonians are landing jobs through the city sales-tax funded program, say leaders with the interfaith grassroots advocacy group. The city has failed to meet its goal that 80% of Ready to Work participants will find employment paying at least $15 an hour within six months of finishing their training.

    “That’s unacceptable,” said Sister Jane Ann Slater, a COPS/Metro leader. “If they would use the process we know works, they can say, ‘We have these jobs on the table,’ and they would be hired immediately.”

  • COPS/Metro Holds Memorial to The Lost Featuring "Stunning" Installation to Spur Change

    [Photo Credit: Reform Austin]

    [Excerpt]

    "More than a hundred people marched from St. Michael's Catholic Church to the Alamodome on Saturday to hang around 2000 t-shirts in front of the parking lot. 

    Each shirt represented a life lost to gun violence in Bexar County. Most shirts had a name, age, and date of death but there were also shirts that simply said "another life stolen." Those represented suicide victims.

  • COPS/Metro Action and Memorial to the Lost Combine to Send City Powerful Message

    [Photo Credit: Today's Catholic Newspaper]
    [Excerpt]

    "Along with Texas Impact and Mission Presbytery, COPS/Metro drew almost 500 working-class people from 61 groups all over the city to St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church on the city’s Southeast Side.

    In a prelude to events, or what they called an action, at the Alamodome [that] weekend, they invited public officials and business leaders and probed their commitment to solving neighborhood problems, especially those involving public safety."