WHO WE ARE IN FANCY WORDS
Asur serves women on the street, including those who have been victims of sex trafficking and have struggled with homelessness, substance use and mental health issues. Asur follows a harm-reduction philosophy by striving to reduce the harmful consequences associated with life on the street. We are federally classified as a human-service organization and in the process of applying for 501c(3) tax exempt certification.
WHO WE ARE IN UN-FANCY WORDS
We are a “guerrilla” nonprofit.
Or more technically, an “agile” one — meaning we purposely have lessened the number of administrative hoops to jump through so that we can respond quickly to solve real-life problems on the ground.
What does that look like?
If it's 100 degrees, we do hot-weather street outreach, giving out water with electrolytes and checking for signs of heat stroke. If it's 10 degrees, we do cold-weather outreach, handing out hand warmers and taking people to shelters.
If a bunch of scammers show up trying to lure Native Americans to fake rehab centers in Arizona, we pass out info sheets and hang up flyers. We also hand out whistles. Because no one wants to take somebody with a whistle on a 6-hour car ride to Phoenix.
This “act first“ policy makes us a ragtag bunch of volunteers.
We are not slick. We are not poised. We do not know how to practice politics.
We prefer to be where we make a difference — on the street. Talking and laughing with the women we serve. Helping them stay alive.
This is how we advocate. Hard.
Our Advisory Committee is made up of volunteers who currently (or recently) live on the street and often act as Street Moms or Big Sisters to those still learning to navigate this environment.
The committee members provide their recommendations on how to approach complex issues, including how to handle serial rapists who will otherwise not face justice and how to increase the use of services among women on the street.
Advisory Committee Members: Gervette, Denae, Strawberry, JJ and Anastasia
A trio of women cuddle up in blankets while discussing the best way to handle a serial rapist who has targeted all three of them.
HOW WE ARE ORGANIZED
When you do a web search for "nonprofit organizational structure" you will see words like "hierarchy" and "chain of command."
That's because the vast majority of nonprofits have a top-down system. This means the board of directors tells the executive director what to do, and they tell the program managers what to do, and they tell their staff what to do, and so forth. Then way down on the bottom rung are the volunteers.
But we are an all-volunteer organization, so there is no bottom rung. Only equal footing.
That has made us a "self-organizing" group, where our volunteers worked together to determine our structure.
WHO'S RUNNING THE PLACE
Everbody is "interim" until we get our 501(c)(3) approval. After that, the board of directors will be voted on and they will appoint an executive director and staff
Sophie L. Laborwit
Interim Executive Director
Christine has 15 years experience in managing nonprofits that work with women on the street. She was the executive director of Street Safe before founding Asur New Mexico in July, 2023.
She was drawn to the work in 2009 after the bodies of 11 women and girls were found buried on the West Mesa in Albuquerque, NM. All of the victims had been living on the street and doing dates between 2003-2004 when they were taken by a serial killer.
For six years, the police knew the women and girls were missing but said nothing. It wasn't until a femur was discovered in an empty lot that the general public was made aware of the disappearances.
Christine's rage at the women being completely ignored for all those years simply because they sold sex made her want to learn more about the women. And life on the street.