2018 Program: Wealth Gap
We are living in a time of historic wealth inequality, and the wealth gap between white and black Americans has more than tripled in the last 50 years. Wealthy people of all racial backgrounds have benefited from the systemic exploitation and theft of land, labor, and lives and have a role to play in returning wealth to where it belongs.
This participatory workshop will connect wealth accumulation with systemic racism, and debunk the bootstrap and meritocracy myths about being rich. Participants will learn how their personal class and money story connects to the history of racialized capitalism, and action steps they can take to help close the racial gap. Resource Generation will share lessons learned from 20 years of organizing a multi-racial wealthy base towards racial and economic justice, and how to bring young wealthy people’s money, time, stories, and long-term commitment to movements.
Headwaters Foundation for Justice will share the nuts and bolts of the Giving Project, a multiracial and cross-class giving circle process that builds relationships and solidarity across class to raise money for movements. This session is open to people from all class backgrounds but is especially relevant to people in the top 10% of net wealth (see https://resourcegeneration.org/2018/01/new-fundraising-policy-and-update...).
Reclaim and study the significant Black cooperative economic movement history. Learn how to connect, support, or establish a Black led cooperative initiative in your own community. Understand why cooperatives can create a more democratic, sustainable alternative to more mainstream community development efforts.
Black Cooperative efforts like the North Star Black Cooperative Fellowship, a fellowship to support the study of Black Cooperatives and the development of Black led cooperative initiatives and the Village Trust Financial Cooperative, a community owned financial institution are just two examples of current Black cooperative initiatives that are working to develop a more just economy and beautiful community for Black people in Minnesota and nationally. Mkali and Connelly, will provide concrete stories of Black cooperation and how to get involved in this participatory workshop and will share the new North Star Black Cooperative Economic Curriculum.
Since the enslavement of African people there has been a practice of Cooperative Economics. From the Underground railroad, to mutual aid societies, credit unions, and southern farm cooperatives and land trusts to, today’s resurgence of cooperatives and a solidarity economy. Explore Black Cooperative Economic history, its ties to movements for justice, current Black Cooperative initiatives, and contribute to the future of Black Cooperative movements.
What can we learn from our history to innovate our Black Cooperative shared futures? How can local and place based Black cooperative efforts become a national movement for Black economic justice. We will explore investment clubs, housing, worker-owner, and credit union cooperatives.
Our fights against white supremacy seem to always be grounded in a fight over the control of wealth, who gets to produce it, and who gets to use it. Yet, by and large, our social justice movements typically accept the rules of our economic system as an unchangeable given, as if we expect capitalism to live forever. We critique it, but limit ourselves to “realistic” campaigns that can win concessions from capitalists or the agencies that regulate them. On occasion we develop movements that seek to build power yet replicate the same economic model that disempowers and creates poverty in the first place, changing some of the faces but leaving the system intact. But what would it look like if we actually built the economy of our dreams? How do we even start?
We offer up worker cooperatives (businesses owned and controlled by the people who work in them) as one place to start.
In this workshop we’ll explore the contrasting assumptions of ownership in cooperatives vs capitalism and their implications for social justice movements. We’ll take a deep dive into the powerful ecosystem in NYC that has successfully moved over $8 million in City funds towards worker co-op development over the past 4 years, producing over 100 worker co-ops. And after all of that, you’ll get a chance to put our work on the hot seat and pick, prod, and poke holes so that we can all learn and build a new economy together.
In this interactive workshop, we invite participants to reflect on this key question: How do we create and sustain racial equity systems change work within metro areas? We use the model of a cross-sector political coalition as one strategy to advance racial equity within institutions. First, we explore how to build a case about how structural racism negatively impacts entire metro areas, including populations and spaces that are predominantly white and/or affluent. We share research from Chicago’s Cost of Segregation project that demonstrates the negative impact to all. Participants complete a short exercise about the Cost of Inequity for all. Next, we brainstorm together why metro-area context –such as political history and fiscal realities—matters for how to organize cross-sector political coalitions. Participants engage in a reflective exercise to sketch their metro context, identify institutional leaders, and make connections across sectors. Next, we explore the construct of targeted universalism, watch a three-minute film from the Haas Institute, and explain its value in messaging. Next, participants identify policy areas and related recommendations in order to spell out what an agenda of racial equity could look like in their metro area. Here, we share examples from our work in Chicago. Finally, we conclude with a planning exercise that encourages participants to spell out for themselves future learning and action. In our conclusion, we invite participants to make connections within their local work to a broader global movement to advance racial equity through cross-sector political coalition building within metro areas.
“I am a woman / fem of color, working job after job feeling unfulfilled, isolated, silenced, underpaid, and down right exhausted. Sound familiar? Black and Latina women experience a persistent wealth and pay gap despite college degrees + marriage. Nearly half of all Black and Latina women have zero or negative wealth in the United States. One solution cited to address this systemic economic inequality is to increase resources for women of color to start their own businesses. It turns out that Black and Latina women are the fastest growing business owners in the country. Are you an aspiring or established WOC entrepreneur? Join Fresh to Def Collective and Standing in Our Power (SiOP) to learn how to step into or grow your entrepreneurial spirit to turn your passion into a sustainable business that has you and your community’s back. In this session you will learn how to step into your vision, challenge your limiting beliefs, and set up a social enterprise one step at a time. This workshop is ideal for aspiring and established women of color, fem, AFAB trans and gender non-conforming identified peoples. Each participant will leave with a free digital copy of the Fresh to Def Business Handbook and SiOP Affirmations Guide.