Collective Courage: A Conversation on Cooperation in African American Communities

Sun, 06 April 2014 // 01:00 PM
Bowery Poetry, 308 Bowery, NYC (map)

You must register--tickets are free--for entrance:

Featuring political economist Jessica Gordon Nembhard, African American feminist and economic justice organizer Farah Tanis, and cooperative organizer Esteban Kelly to explore the role cooperation and solidarity economics has played in maintaining the beloved community in the U.S. South, Brooklyn, and beyond. Dr. Gordon Nemhard's new book Collective Courage explores the legacies of cooperation amongst African Americans, while Farah Tanis’ organization, Black Women’s Blueprint, utilizes solidarity economy practices to support a vibrant Brooklyn community of women of color. Esteban Kelly, an anti-oppression facilitator with AORTA Collective and national cooperative organizer, returns to his native NYC to moderate the discussion.

Doors open at the Bowery Poetry Club at 1:00pm and program begins promptly at 1:30pm. This event is free but seating is limited and you must have a ticket to enter. Light refreshments will be served.

Hosted by SolidarityNYC and Grassroots Economic Organizing (GEO) Collective, we’re grateful to our co-sponsors Lower East Side People’s Federal Credit Union, Park Slope Food Coop, New York City Network of Worker Cooperatives, and GritTV for helping us bring this event to you free of charge.

Our speakers:

Jessica Gordon Nembhard is a political economist specializing in community economics, Black Political Economy and popular economic literacy. Her research and publications explore problematics and alternative solutions in cooperative economic development and worker ownership, community economic development, wealth inequality and community-based asset building, and community-based approaches to justice. She is an Associate Professor of Community Justice and Social Economic Development in the Africana Studies Department at John Jay College, City University of NY and also a member of the Grassroots Economic Organizing Collective, the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives, the Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy, the Association of Cooperative Educators, the US Solidarity Economy Network, and the Leadership Team of Organizing Neighborhood Equity (ONE) DC. She is a co-founder of the U.S. Solidarity Economy Network; the Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy; and the Democracy Collaborative. She earned a Ph.D. and an M.A. in economics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (1992 and 1989, respectively). She earned her B.A. degree, magna cum laude, in Literature and African American Studies from Yale University (1978); and an M.A.T. in Elementary Curriculum and Teaching from Howard University (1982). She is the proud mother of two children (Stephen and Susan) and one grandson (Stephon).

Farah Tanis is an ardent human rights activist and advocate, has over 16 years of experience leading social justice movements, grassroots initiatives and organizational development and is currently the Executive Director of Black Women's Blueprint. She serves as Almoner for the Havens Relief Fund which provides emergency grants in New York City. Tanis currently serves on the Board of Directors of Right Rides which ensures women’s safety in public spaces and serves on the Board of Haki Yetu meaning "Our Right" in Swahili, which works with survivors of Rape in the Congo region of Africa. She is on the Advisory Board of the New Americans Leadership Project which prepares immigrants for civic leadership, political participation and to hold political office. Tanis is a 2000 Open Society Institute Fellow; and has received several awards for her work in the social justice, including a 2001 Union Square Award; A 2003 Everyday Hero Award; An 2004 Emigrant Award; A 2007 Extraordinary Woman Award, a 2007 Soroptimists International Award and two New York City Council Proclamations. Tanis is a 2012 U.S. Human Rights Institute Fellow.

Esteban Kelly is an important leader and creative force in food justice and co-op movements, where he has served on many boards including the Democracy at Work Institute, the US Solidarity Economy Network, and Mariposa Food Co-op where he also worked for over eight years on the co-management team. From 2009-2011, Mr. Kelly was the Vice President of the U.S. Federation of Worker Co-ops and is a previous Board President of NASCO (the North American Students of Cooperation) where he worked as the Director of Education from 2003–2005, and was a board member from 2005–2013. In recognition of “outstanding leadership,” Esteban was inducted into the NASCO Cooperative Hall of Fame in 2011, and was recently appointed to the boards of the Cooperative Development Foundation (CDF) and the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA). Due to his impassioned advocacy for food justice, Mr. Kelly was appointed to the Food Policy Advisory Council in the Philadelphia Mayor’s Office of Sustainability.He is a founder and core trainer with AORTA (the Anti-Oppression Resource & Training Alliance), a worker co-op whose consulting supports organizations fighting for social justice and a solidarity economy. As an active community organizer in West Philadelphia, Esteban has volunteered since 2004 with the Philly Stands Up Collective to advance transformative justice through dedicated work in sexual assault situations. He is currently an organizer with the New Economy Coalition. Esteban lives in the LCA community land trust, with his partner, and their very young daughter.