July Board Update
We are grateful for the opportunity for change and call for accountability that has been prompted by member owners and the co-op community through an online petition released on July 2nd.
Ross Brockley was elected in April 2015 by the member owners of Open Harvest in a contested election. He left the board in Nov. 2019 when his term expired. When information and concerns about Ross were initially shared with the current full board, we were uncertain, unresponsive, and unskilled in how to act. This has added further harm to our community.
We acknowledge that our cooperative has participated in a system of white supremacy by not vocally denouncing bigotry. The board of directors disavows white supremacy and racism in all its forms. We also denounce the Holocaust denial that former director Ross Brockley has displayed.
We acknowledge the experiences of those in the petition. Anyone who has personally experienced this type of harassment at Open Harvest should contact the board immediately via e-mail.
We have not upheld our co-op principle of ‘Care for Community.’ We want to unlearn the racism and fear that have resulted in harming our member owners and the larger community. At this time, we are committed to the following actions:
- At the July 1st Board Meeting, Megan Jackson stepped down as Board Chair, and the board confirmed Matt Pirog as Board Chair.
- Form a committee of community members, board members and staff to address white supremacy, diversity, and inclusion in order to guide this work for the co-op.
- The board and staff will participate in a series of anti-racist trainings starting with Implicit Bias Training facilitated by the Center for Rural Affairs during the last week of July. Members will also be invited to attend. Invite and details will be forthcoming.
- Review and update our values statements, policies, bylaws, membership agreements, and candidate packets to reflect an anti-racist/anti-oppression culture.
- Management & Board will hold a meeting with current employees to listen to concerns on Wednesday, July 15th
- The board will report to the membership monthly on the results of these actions.
We will hold two initial exploratory meetings of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Committee on Thursday, July 16th and Thursday, July 23rd at 7 PM. The goal of this advisory committee is to guide the anti-racist work of the co-op in alignment with our global ends policy. Please email your interest to the board email: firstname.lastname@example.org and a Zoom id and password will be provided.
The Open Harvest Board of Directors