About EPISO / Border Interfaith

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El Paso Interreligious Sponsoring Organization (EPISO) / Border Interfaith is a broad-based community organization located in El Paso, Texas.  Our members are faith and neighborhood institutions who work across religious, racial, ethnic, economic, generational and neighborhood lines for the good of the whole community.

EPISO/Border Interfaith believes that in order for community leaders to be effective, we must be educated and informed citizens.  We engage in public discourse and initiate action guided by that conversation, creating opportunities for ordinary people to make real and dramatic change in the community.  We strive to hold elected officials accountable for their public responsibilities.

Affiliated with the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), the West/Southwest IAF and the Texas IAF, EPISO/Border Interfaith builds relational power and exercises that power to strengthen our communities and bring about a more just society.  

Teaching & Practicing Democracy

EPISO / Border Interfaith embraces a vision of a vibrant bilingual border community.  We are convinced that El Paso can be a better place to live – with better schools, better jobs, and healthier citizens.

  • We commit as institutional members to work for a community where the schools are excellent, all residents have affordable healthcare, and all people are treated with respect.
  • We hold our elected officials accountable to ensure they protect our natural environment, manage growth carefully, and make basic services available to all.
  • We pledge to identify and train leaders whose web of relationships transcend economic, racial, gender, and religious divisions.

Through building relational power and engaging actively in democratic civic life, our institutions and leaders will transform our border region.  Our motivation comes from the teachings of our diverse faiths and from our fervent belief in liberty and justice for all.


  • Latest from the blog

    Fr. Ed Roden-Lucero, with EPISO/Border Interfaith, Leaves Legacy of Fighting for Justice

    [Excerpts] For four decades, the Rev. Ed Roden-Lucero has influenced El Paso far beyond the walls of the parishes he pastored. He has been a key part of efforts to bring water and sewer services to tens of thousands of homes, and train hundreds of El Pasoans for jobs that paid a living wage and altered lives.... Those who worked with him said he fought poverty and injustice wherever he saw it. EPISO was involved in efforts to build El Paso Children’s Hospital and expand University Medical Center clinics across the county so that more people would have access to health care. While Roden-Lucero served as pastor of San Juan Diego Catholic Church in Montana Vista, EPISO led an effort to divide the Clint Independent School District Board of Trustees into single-member districts so that power and resources were more evenly divided. Roden-Lucero arrived in El Paso a couple of years after a group of mostly Catholic churches formed the El Paso Interreligious Sponsoring Organization, or EPISO, a nonprofit organization that trained community-based leaders to advocate for issues important to them. He had received training from the Industrial Areas Foundation, EPISO’s parent organization, before coming to El Paso. EPISO leaders quickly focused on the dire situation in colonias, neighborhoods along the U.S.-Mexico border that had been developed without the most basic human services. By the mid-1980s, more than 80,000 El Paso County residents lived in homes without water or wastewater services. Many of them developed hepatitis A because they drank from water wells dug next to septic tanks. State and local leaders had shown little interest in addressing the growing crisis. So EPISO and other IAF affiliates across Texas organized and turned up the heat, bringing national media attention to shameful conditions along the border. Dolores DeAvila, an educator in El Paso’s Lower Valley and EPISO member, met Roden-Lucero in the early 1980s and was part of the fight to bring water to the colonias. “I have learned a lot from him in terms of his being very courageous, acting on his beliefs and working with his parishioners, engaging them in their needs,” she said. Years of lobbying and public pressure by EPISO and its sister organizations paid off in 1989, when Texas voters passed a bond issue to begin the process of providing water and wastewater infrastructure to border colonias.... The Priest Who Spent 40 Years Fighting to Reshape El Paso, El Paso Matters
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    Texas IAF Blocks $10 Billion Dollar Corporate Tax Giveaway to Big Oil

    [Excerpts] When organizers set out to overturn Texas’s giveaway program for the oil and gas industry, they had a long game in mind. Over 20 years, the tax exemption program known as Chapter 313 had delivered $10 billion in tax cuts to corporations operating in Texas — with petrochemical firms being the biggest winners. This year, for the first time in a decade, the program was up for reauthorization. [Texas IAF] organizers decided to challenge it for the first time.... At 4 a.m. last Thursday, it became clear that something unexpected was happening: The deadline for reauthorization passed. “The bill never came up,” Greco told The Intercept. Organizers stayed vigilant until the legislative session officially closed on Monday at midnight, but the reauthorization did not materialize.... In 19 months, Texas’s subsidy program will expire, but that doesn’t mean the fight is over. “We know there’s going to be a big conversation over the interim — we are under no illusions that this is not going to be a long-term battle.” Organizers, though, recognize that the subsidy’s defeat marks a shift: “The table has been reset.” In Blow to Big Oil, Corporate Subsidy Quietly Dies in Texas, The Intercept [pdf] How Skeptical Texas Lawmakers Put an End to a Controversial Tax Incentive Program, Houston Chronicle [pdf] Texas Legislature Dooms Chapter 331, Which Gives Tax Breaks to Big Businesses, Business Journal [pdf] Missed Deadline Could Doom Controversial $10B Tax-Break Program, Houston Chronicle [pdf] A Texas Law Offers Tax Breaks to Companies, but It's Renewal Isn't a Done Deal, Texas Tribune [pdf] Losers and Winners from Chapter 313, Central Texas Interfaith
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