Spring Newsletter

Spring Newsletter

Hello Spring

Wrapping up the first book club reading. Winter is a time for rest and reflection; and this winter, members of the Virginia Solidarity Economy Network came together over 5 months to reflect on the rich history of cooperatives in the South. In reading Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Thought and Practice by Jessica Gordon-Nembhard, we learned about the pivotal role that black communities had and continue to have in realizing economic democracy through cooperative ecosystems.

“Co-ops are the best people development institutions you can have. . . . I have always been interested in rural development in the South. It’s not well understood outside of the South that there’s a connection between economic independence and political independence– that people didn’t have economic independence if when they voted they lost their jobs or got kicked off the plantation. The whole reason for forming cooperatives is to give people economic independence so that they could have independence in political and other matters.”
— Ray Marshall (quoted in Collective Courage)

Then, to welcome Spring, we hosted an event to plant seeds of new relationships and get a modern-day, place-based introduction to cooperatives here in Virginia. We had such a lively discussion with amazing speakers who shared their experiences building and supporting worker-owned co-ops. Thank you for all who attended! If you missed it, or want to go back to make sure you heard all the wisdom shared, check out the recording.

VASEN & community partners present Worker Cooperative Ecosystems: An Interactive Learn-in. March 21, 2023.

News & Upcoming Events

  • Resist and Build, a convening of organizers imagining and building alternative worlds, will be coming to Richmond this fall October 20-22. People working on public banking, participatory budgeting, land back, cooperatives, mutual aid and solidarity economies will all be in one place for a few days and we want to use this to energize and strengthen the solidarity of our movements in Virginia. Register now to save the date. We’ll see you there!
  • With summer on the horizon, the VASEN Coordinating Committee will be recruiting for an internship position. We are currently working toward fiscal sponsorship so that we can fundraise for this to be a paid position. Keep an eye out for more information in our next newsletter.

Feedback & Contact

We are all learners and leaders in VASEN. If you want to continue to weave the co-op ecosystems across the state, we invite you to host a conversation or event! Please take a moment to fill out this survey to share feedback on the co-op learn-in and help us determine how best to stay connected. Even if you didn’t attend or watch the recording, there’s questions about what future topics you’d like to learn about, and in what ways you’d like to gather with others in this network. Please fill it out!

Keep in Touch!

This year, we started using Zulip. It’s an online communications channel where we’re sharing interesting articles, upcoming events, job openings, and more. It’s also where we gather to continue our conversations in between coordinating and community events. Just click here and sign in with your email address.

To read more about our work, explore past events and current news, check out our website and join our emailing list.

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