The shocking events of this last year—George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and many Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) community members who were murdered at the hands of police, the attack on the United States Capitol Building, the murderous attack on six Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women in Atlanta, and antisemitic attacks on our Lincoln community—forced Open Harvest members and staff to face up to the urgency of the dangerous irrational hatreds and social injustices in our country. Like many people, we were unprepared.
Over the last year, co-op directors and staff have been taking ourselves to task: where did this violence come from? Should we have been better prepared to stand up for the marginalized and the minorities in our community? The answer is a resounding, YES! Our teachers were the training staff of Inclusive Communities and national activists like LaDonna Sanders Redmond, well-known community organizer and cooperative educator. The Board of Directors accepted her Abolitionist Challenge course and Chrysalis Retreat. Over the past year we have read and studied, debated and listened, researched and looked around us.
Taking first steps toward cooperative internal actions, we organized a reading club for our members, who chose the book Caste by Isabel Wilkerson in Spring 2021. In July, we read and discussed Freedom Farmers by Monica M White. And on the horizon: Sunday, September 26th we have an opportunity to have a conversation with our children, around the kids’ version of Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi. You can RSVP to this meeting here.
Since last summer, the Board’s Committee for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion has studied, debated, and developed actions to take, as we aspire to reach out, to lend support, to educate ourselves and our members, and to embrace diversity in our community through cooperative values. Coming soon, we have planned quarterly gatherings to “Get to Know Our Community” where we can learn about minorities in our community.
A co-op is an organization of people who value community and who collaborate. We are a collective force for social responsibility, ethical principles, equal protection, equal access, equitable jobs and homes, and safe families. Is it too much to say we embrace this in joyous solidarity? The co-op exists to steward health & well-being, support the local economy, provide access to fresh nutritious food, and support regenerative agriculture & humane coexistence with the animals that provide dairy and egg products and those raised for meat consumption.
We have plans. Join us in resolution. We will go forward together, learning from each other, reassuring each other, looking out for each other. Our monthly DEI Meetings are held on the third Wednesday of every month. Our first “Get to Know Our Community” meeting is Wednesday, October 20th at 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm at Milkweed Yoga with the Asian Community and Cultural Center – Go to our website to request a link.
Not able to make the meetings? Watch for emails and check out the community bulletin board in the store for events, education recommendations, and ideas. Do you have ideas, resources, and knowledge to share? You can contact the DEI Committee via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
DEI Committee Member
Open Harvest Director