CoMinnesota February 2021 eNewsletter – Black run co-ops news.

Arts Cooperative to open Thurs. Feb. 27 in Minneapolis Longfellow Neighborhood

 – A week from Thursday, a new cooperative will open in the Longfellow neighborhood of Minneapolis along Minnehaha Avenue.

It will be the first time this group of Black artists will have a space to call their own.

The Black Table Arts Cooperative, founded by Keno Evol, contains gathering spaces, conference and office rooms available to its members through a pay-what-you-can model.

The vision for the 1,800 square-foot building is to fill it with everything from writing work shops, meetings, open mic nights and more.

“We are really invested in gathering Black artists in the state of Minnesota to think out loud about the communities we want to create and the futures we want to walk into,” said Evol.
— more here

Celebrating Black Families in Farming & Cooperative History
The Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund 

Tuesday, Feb 23 | 12 pm -1:30 pm est

Register Here

Black families are critical pieces of Cooperative history through their sacrifice to promote what was a new concept. We acknowledge this year’s black history month theme, The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity declared by the Association of the Study of African American Life and History.

As we journey through the cooperative history through this webinar, we will hear from those who were at the forefront of envisioning a new economy that would value black farmers, landowners; entrusting that vision to bring to life a pathway for self-supporting communities. The federation believes true generational healing and building within the black community begins with a representation and acknowledgment of our leaders and pioneers. The legacy of the member-owner framework and community building has primarily been told through documenting the families and community members involved in heading cooperatives through the southern U.S Regions.

Canada’s hidden cooperative system:
The legacy of the Black Banker Ladies

Online Webinar: Tuesday, March 9, 2021 | 12:00 – 13:00 ET
Free (registration required)
Register Here

Black diaspora women, known as Banker Ladies, lead solidarity economics through a form of mutual aid called Rotating Savings and Credit Associations (ROSCAs). Drawing on ancient African traditions, this financial exchange system holds the key to making local economies serve the needs of everyone. Canada has a rich history of corporativism, and Canadian policymakers are called on to support solidarity economies, and to ensure there is space for Black cooperators by creating a Global ROSCA Network. Valuing these informal cooperative institutions, and acknowledging the expertise of Banker Ladies, will help build an inclusive economy, bridge the gap of inequity in Canada, and by extension revolutionize Canadian international development policy.

From NCBA CLUSA — Subscribe for more updates here

Black Americans face unequal access to home ownership; Two Wisconsin cities are turning to co-ops for a solution

The housing crisis in the United States is not new. Millions of Americans struggle to pay rent each month, and homeownership is far out of reach for many. Policymakers have often looked at homeownership as a critical tool to help families build wealth and get ahead, but they have not made opportunities for homeownership equitable across races.

Although the Jim Crow Era is often talked about as if it is the distant past, it was only in 1964 with the passage of the Civil Rights Act that these practices were brought to a legal end—and many discriminatory practices that skirt the laws still remain. America’s housing crisis—which has only compounded during the COVID-19 pandemic—is the consequence of a confluence of factors, including a history of discriminatory housing practices against Black Americans and, by keeping homeownership out of reach, a disproportionate level of poverty among Black Americans.
— more here


New legislation recommends co-ops as tool to build Black farmers’ capacity to succeed
Doug O’Brien – President & CEO

The U.S. House of Representatives have advanced legislation championed by the White House as part of the COVID-19 rescue plan. In general, the legislation would provide support for public health measures related to the pandemic, funding for state and local governments, resources for housing challenges, and more support for businesses—including cooperatives—with an emphasis on restaurants and socially disadvantaged farmers.

Among other things, the legislation passed by the House Agriculture Committee wisely focuses resources on helping socially disadvantaged farmers establish cooperatives, which is a preferred strategy to ensure that these farmers can own, control and benefit from the businesses they use.

As we continue to recognize Black History Month, I wanted to consider a piece of the legislation that focuses on socially disadvantaged farmers, with particular attention to Black farmers. Much of what I know about the Black farmer experience, I have learned from 20 years of working with leaders at the Federation for Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund, a cooperative association of Black farmers, landowners and cooperatives. For 54 years, the Federation has worked to develop cooperatives and credit unions as a means for people to enhance their quality of life and improve their communities. And for 54 years, the Federation has been part of NCBA CLUSA.

— more here

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