Tuesday, February 14, 2012

An Inescapable Network of Mutuality

What is the Power of Love?
Dear Co-operator,

Happy Valentine's Day, and Happy Black History Month. We hope that the power of love is at work in your heart, in your cooperative, and in your neighborhood.
Martin-Luther-King-1964-leaning-on-a-lecternWe are Bound Together

Martin Luther King Jr. preached in 1960 that everybody is “tied in a single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, where what affects one directly affects all indirectly.” And in 1967, "I have decided to love. If you are seeking the highest good, I think you can find it through love. And the beautiful thing is that we are moving against wrong when we do it."
A Salute to the Past, Present and Future

African Americans have a long history of cooperation. Here are just a few glimpses.
  • See this talk by Prof. Jessica Gordon Nembhard, a scholar of the history of African American co-operators
    Shirley Sherrod Co-op Hall of Fame
  • In 2011, Shirley Sherrod was inducted into the Cooperative Hall of Fame for her work starting cooperatives among poor Black farmers in the South
  • The largest worker co-op in the U.S., employing over 1,700 mostly women of color, is Cooperative Home Care Associates in the South Bronx
  • The Ujamaa Collective in Pittsburgh brings together women of African descent to cooperatively market their work and support their micro-enterprises
  • New Entry Sustainable Farming project helps immigrants from all over the world, including Africa and the Caribbean, transfer their farming skills to their new Mass. home, marketing cooperatively through World PEAS.
We are proud of our colleague Omar Freilla, founder and coordinator of Green Worker Cooperatives, for being named one of the "Power 100" in Ebony's December/January issue.

A Roof over their Heads and the Land under their Homes

For those of you keeping track, our NEROC program has helped afifth group of manufactured home park residents buy their park and begin to operate it as a cooperative. So far, that's over 300 families who don't need to worry any more about rising lot rents, declining services, or the threat of eviction.

"The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood."
--Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love

An inspiration from MLK drives cooperation
Detroit Summer
Detroit Summer youth at work in a garden
"Rebellions tend to be negative, to denounce and expose the enemy without providing a positive vision of a new future... A revolution is not just for the purpose of correcting past injustices, a revolution involves a projection of man/woman into the future... It begins with projecting the notion of a more human human being, i.e. a human being who is more advanced in the specific qualities which only human beings have - creativity, consciousness and self-consciousness, a sense of political and social responsibility."

--Grace Lee Boggs, who has dedicated her life to helping to realize Martin Luther King's vision ofBeloved Community in her hometown of Detroit and elsewhere around the country, one grassroots project at a time.

Cooperative Development Institute
PO Box 422
Shelburne Falls, MA 01370
877 NE COOPS (toll free) /

Cooperative Development Institute

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