I am currently a member of a member of Soil Generation and the Friend's Housing Cooperative, I also belong to the Ardent Credit Union and though an inactive member, have been a Park Slp[e Food Coop since 2001.
When I first became a member at the PSFC I worked in the office, helping to streamline membership files, including personal information and shifts. I also worked in Food Processing and assisted shoppers in the store. With the FHC I am a new member and am simply paying my carrying charges for the condo that I 'purchased', and stewarding the space in the best way possible. I hope to be a more active member for our work, but know that in order for me to take on more responsibility I need to grow relationships to ppl already working. For Soil Generation, I am in leadership, as our Black and Brown members are at the center of the organisation's decision making, and I am happy to say that I play a number of roles for the group, which I'll list as a part of the answer for #4.
Philadelphia Area Cooperatives are essential to ensuring the future of the city. The United Nations found in the 1970's that cooperative economics are one of the greatest solutions to deep poverty. Many countries including Tanzania adopted this, and began encouraging it's citizens towards this business model, but found that the government quickly became distrustful of the power and mobility that this was giving the ppl. At a time when the city is still accepting practices such as red lining and predatory lending in real estate, while Black and Brown ppl are being disproportionately imprisoned and in turn experiencing severing of our families, while those same communities are living lives of strong resilience and being constantly met with systemic resistance, this is definitively the time of the cooperative. Imagine a community that needs for nothing. We function in the best interest of the individual in order to serve the group, and each individual maintains integrity and self governance in order to protect the group. We live not just with each other, but for each other.
I have experience in Group process and decision making, with a particular artful interest in consensus and the tradition of the People's Assembly. I am particularly good at facilitating meetings, Public Speaking and can write when given enough time and support. I am a speaker thinker, so writing comes smoothly after much discussion. I enjoy Strategic Planning, and have 20 years of Non-profit organization experience. I have never experienced being engaged with a healthy board of directors, so I am very interested in this being robust and rigorous. I have business experience, and have learned a good amount about legal issues, as it pertains to 'Jurisprudence' or the rights that live INSIDE of the legal language that is oft overlooked, because we use a very different type of English than what was used to write many of the laws we still use today. Additionally, I feel confident about explaining some of the thinking around how ppl of color have been left, largely, outside of the actual 'rule of law' and are still working to be seen as worthy of the justice that this legal system promises.
My unique experience and perspective will literally strengthen the board as much as others' allow it to. Likewise, I will be responsible to allowing other members' skills and thinking move the organization forward. I can't way where I see PACA in 5 years. As it is an organisation that I did not start, nor do I feel deeply invested in at this moment, I do not feel connected enough to have that sight. I do hope for the best for this young organisation, and I recognise that we will have to win together if at all.
I think I am likely an ideal candidate for ambassador/advocate (although I have some issues with 'advocacy' because it feels too close to a political agenda or sales- I'm not too interested on 'selling' to ppl). I think that the function of my life is playing a bridge between many communities and my family functions in that way as well. I travel extensively, enjoy connecting work from one community to another and would likely be able to share our efforts in earnest.
Thanks and all the best,