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The Northwest Cooperative Development Center (NWCDC) stands in solidarity with Black communities. We condemn the murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, among other countless acts of violence perpetrated on Black communities for decades. This moment represents a time of deep grief, anger and sadness throughout communities. We understand this hate is rooted in systems of white supremacy and institutional anti-black racism. We denounce the racist practices within the national police state and demand fundamental change. We join with those demanding the replacing of systems that are fraught with racist practices. We recognize that this level of fundamental change cannot happen without multi-racial, working-class organizing developed within our communities, organizations and institutions.
NWCDC exists to promote cooperative models, which have deep historical roots in social justice values and practices. We believe that cooperatives have the potential to provide equitable workplaces and housing communities that are engaged in inclusive and non-discriminatory practices while promoting diversity, inclusion and anti-racism.
The cooperative movement, at its best, is committed to social justice and has been since the emergence of the modern cooperative model as a response to the gross injustices accompanying the industrial revolution in England 150 years ago. There is a rich history of communities of color utilizing the cooperative model to empower themselves in the struggle for justice and equity. Black co-ops, such as the Freedom Farm in the south organized by Fannie Lou Hamer, have been instrumental in the struggle for black liberation, a tradition that is continued today by groups like Cooperation Jackson in Mississippi and the Southern Federation of Black Cooperatives. Latino cooperatives, such as the berry farmers of Tierra y Libertad in our home state of Washington, have historically been organized to create just, community-owned workplaces in a diversity of industries such as transportation, agriculture and care work.
We also realize that cooperative culture has often been dominated by white leadership and the need exists to broaden cooperative access to communities of color. We recognize that racism and bigotry exist within co-ops and that co-ops require increased anti-racism training tools in areas like restorative justice, dispute resolution, anti-oppression, conflict de-escalation, equitable hiring processes, and anti-racist policies.
NWCDC strives to be a diversified organization. Our team still has work to do to better understand our organizational white privilege and deepen our commitment to anti-racist actions in our daily work. NWCDC calls upon ourselves and our affiliates to uplift and uphold stronger anti-racist practices within systems of co-op development. We are committed to supporting black-led and multi-racial led co-ops understanding that diverse cooperatives hold great potential in uplifting the movement towards equitable and anti-racist economies.
The Northwest Cooperative Development Center