In honor of Women’s History Month, Ron Hantz and Dr. Ann Gessler discuss the Black Cooperative Agenda Conference on Everything Co-op


Tune in to WOL 1450 AM, 95.9 FM and WOL Live Stream March 31 2022, 10:30 am EDT, for Everything Co-op, hosted by Vernon Oakes. Join Everything Co-op as we conclude our recognition of Women’s History Month, with a focus on this year’s theme of Women, Providing Healing, Promoting Health. This week Vernon interviews Ron Hantz, Executive Director of Network for Developing Conscious Communities, and Educator/auathor Dr. Ann Gessler. Together, they will give an overview of the upcoming Black Cooperative Agenda National Conference, and New Orleans’ cooperative development.

Ron Hantz has been instrumental in advocating a new community development paradigm based on “conscious community development” He is a former Adjunct Professor, in the Africana Studies Department, at the University Maryland Baltimore County, and founded the Network for Developing Conscious Communities (NDCC) in 2014. He now leads the organization’s efforts on advocacy and building a sustainable ecosystem for Black governed community development organizations. Under his leadership, NDCC has emerged as a grass roots voice on promoting the use of principle-based practices to regenerate under-resourced Black communities.

Dr. Anne Gessler is a clinical associate professor in the First Year Seminar and Humanities programs at the University of Houston-Clear Lake. She is the Mieszkuc Memorial Professor in Women’s and Gender Studies for 2021-2022. Dr. Gessler will discuss her upcoming luncheon address, “Cooperating in the Crescent City: Lessons Learned from New Orleans’s Intergenerational Black Cooperative Movement,” at the Black Cooperative Agenda National Conference. Based on her book, Cooperatives in New Orleans: Collective Action and Urban Development, where Dr. Gessler traces how New Orleans community cooperatives contribute to a social history of grassroots social justice mobilization in the South. She examines how the long civil rights movement shaped current New Orleans cooperatives. Exploring the work of Black hospital administrator Albert Dent, who worked with multiracial New Deal southern liberals to establish a cooperative public health plan for Black Louisianans.

The Network for Developing Conscious Communities was founded 2014 as a 501 © (3) non-profit community development membership organization. Through implementing principles of conscious community development, the organization seeks to build economically cooperative and equitable communities through transparency, inclusiveness and collectivism. NDCC successfully works to improve financial sustainability, encourage business ownership and increase residential real estate ownership in Black neighborhoods.

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