COPO, formerly known as the Council of Pakistan Organization, began in the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy. Several business owners in Central Brooklyn responded to the backlash faced by South Asians, particularly Muslims, in the neighborhoods of Midwood and Kensignton. After extensive brainstorming among neighborhood representatives, COPO opened its doors on February 1, 2002 to support families impacted by this crisis. As a wider cross section of the neighborhood appealed to the organization for assistance, our name was changed to the Council of Peoples Organization to represent all that are served.
Prior to 9/11, the Pakistani community was isolated and poverty-stricken. The people toiled at below-minimum wages, lived in substandard housing, had limited access to healthcare, and lacked proficiency in English.
Following 9/11, racism, racial profiling and selective immigration enforcement only added to the woes of the South Asian population. These political and socio-economic factors exacerbated conditions in the already isolated and underserved community. COPO’s formation addressed these issues at a time when very few organizations primarily served low-income South Asians and Muslims in Brooklyn.
The Council of Peoples Organization’s (COPO) mission is to assist low income immigrant families, particularly South Asians and Muslims, to reach their full potential as residents of New York City. COPO empowers marginalized communities to advocate for their rights and understand their responsibilities as Americans. It helps to build community relations between Muslim and non-Muslim community groups. It continues to establish connections between the communities and various government agencies