Cooperators are invited to apply for Cultivating Equity & Building Power: A DEI Peer Group for Co-operative Leaders. Building off the deep interest indicated in the recently concluded survey on Trends in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Cooperative Community, a cohort of co-op leaders interested in advancing DEI in their cooperatives and communities is being formed.
Informational sessions on the cohort will be held on Wednesday, May 19 at 12 pm EDT and Wednesday, May 26 at 12 pm EDT (both via Zoom).
The learning cohort offers an opportunity for a cross-sector group of cooperators to develop a new framework for leading organizations in the DEI process and community power building through study, writing and peer input. By integrating the work of leading-edge practitioners and best DEI practices within particular industries, and investigating regional and industry specific histories, this cohort aims to build a strong network of cooperative leaders who will be equipped to cast a vision for incorporating DEI practices in their own cooperatives. The program will also situate the significance of that DEI work within a broader vision of the role cooperatives play in reweaving a new economic ecosystem that advances power-building, and social and economic equity, among low-income communities and communities of color.
The basic program will include:
- Four 90-minute workshop sessions facilitated virtually through Zoom (July 28, 2021; October 27, 2021; February 16, 2022; and May 25, 2022);
- Four prompts/frameworks to help prepare for each workshop session requiring about 10-12 hours of work per quarter;
- Deep connection and collaboration with other leaders through collective imagining and case studies exploring the potential for transformation through incorporating DEI practices in cooperatives and the potential these practices have for building power and ownership in low-income communities and communities of color;
- Accountability in doing the hard work first and embracing emotional labor;
- A way to build relationships across the field of cooperative businesses.
The program is facilitated by Felipe Witchger, Executive Director of the Community Purchasing Alliance; Cullen McKenney, PhD, a teacher, facilitator and organizer; Tamela Blalock, Vice President of Cooperative Relations at the National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International (NCBA CLUSA); and Rev. Dr. Fatimah Salleh, a pastor, theologian and race educator.