Black Future of the solidarity economy...and we’re hiring! (February Newsletter)

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In the U.S., we celebrate Black History in February. Black history is vital to the ongoing project that is American democracy.  “We have helped the country live up to its founding ideals”, writes 1619 Project journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones. We celebrate local legends like Dennis Terry, filmmaker and co-founder of Mandela Foods Cooperative (1950 - 2020), who dedicated his life to supporting Bay Area cooperatives, publicizing grassroots economic activity and documenting the stories of Black Farmers. We celebrate American giants like anti-capitalist Ella Baker, who co-founded the Young Negroes Cooperative League to invigorate Black buying clubs and grow Black economic power autonomy; and Fannie Lou Hamer, who founded Freedom Farm Cooperative, a grassroots self-help effort to organize and feed as many Black families as she could. 

For the Movement for Black Lives, February is Black Futures Month. Inspired by this visionary framing, we’re shining light on Black folks in our community who’re doing the work to make a better future for us all, right now. They are our mentors, advisors, collaborators, and colleagues.

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Webinar Resources: Raising Cooperative Capital

raising cooperative capital for California worker cooperatives!

On February 4th, 2021, our Director of Economic Democracy, Ricardo Nuñez, provided a brief orientation for worker cooperatives and their supporters to the considerations around raising cooperative capital in California. Below, you'll find the recording and follow up resources that we shared with attendees.

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Private Property is A Fictitious Notion

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Hi! My name is adélàjà simon from the Law Center’s Radical Real Estate Law school. I am Ayisyen and Yorùbá born in the U.S. Recently, during some time spent on the east coast where I grew up, I was able to be in conversation with my mother about the only home that she knew growing up in Ayiti in a small town in the southwest near Baraderes. My mother is my grandfather’s first born child and with his lack of support for his children plus her having lived in the U.S. for so long, there has been fear that she might try and claim ownership of the land. Neither of us thought that we would be able to see it or visit it because of some of those dynamics, but an opportunity for re-connection with some family has reopened that possibility. As we engaged in this conversation, further fleshing out the details of this family drama, I found myself thinking about the untended graves in the back of the house where my Great Great grandparents were buried. I did not have the opportunity to even meet two of my grandparents, let alone Great grandparents before they passed away.

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Webinar Resources: CA Entity Options for Worker Cooperatives

CA entity options for worker cooperatives with Ricardo and Kieron

On January 25th, 2021, our Director of Economic Democracy, Ricardo Nuñez, provided an introduction to what legal entities are and the pros and cons of choosing one legal entity over another for California based worker cooperatives. Below, you'll find the recording and follow up resources that we shared with attendees.

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January 2021 Newsletter: Meeting chaos with determination

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We’ve made it to a new year, bringing hard earned wisdom from 2020.  One insight Law Center staff are holding tightly: Life will never go back to “normal” and this moment is our window of opportunity. As world leaders fumble and traditional power structures fail, space for new ideas and new systems is made possible. We’re stepping up, ready to help shape a more just world. The Law Center is ever more committed to 
banning land grabshelping grow cooperative ecosystemssupporting mutual aid effortsstaying attuned to the emergent needs of our community, and much more. So much is uncertain; but we’re facing our work with determination, grounded in solidarity. 

How to remain calm as we move deeper into The Great Turning?  A favorite grounding practice at the Law Center is reading! Here's a list of a few of our favorite books from last year. These books inspired us, fed our spirits, and even made us laugh.

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Our Favorite Reads of 2020

How to remain calm as we move into a new year, deeper into The Great Turning?  A favorite grounding practice at the Law Center is reading! Below is a list of a few of our favorite books from 2020. These books inspired us, fed our spirits, and even made us laugh.

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December 2020 Newsletter: 2020 Annual Report

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Remember when the pandemic first started? So many of us in the solidarity economy movement were excited to explore and share alternatives to our current extractive and exploitative system. Mutual aid projects popped up all over the United States. We saw 
pictures of empty freeways under clear blue skies. We put a halt on evictions and foreclosures. Boxes of masks and other medical supplies were sent from Japan to China and then from China to Italy. And those masks came with poems!

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2020 Annual Report

Check out our Annual Report to read about our 2020 highlights, including the launch of our Radical Real Estate Law School, the publication of our Mutual Aid Legal Toolkit, the successful SB 1079 campaign to prioritize communities over corporate landlords, and the legal support we provided to reparations-based land rematriation projects all over the country, dozens of mutual aid groups, and 80 Latinx cooperative entrepreneurs.

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South City Focuses on Equity

By: Austin Walsh, The Daily Journal

Excerpt: The meeting also featured a presentation from Ricardo Nuñez from the Sustainable Economies Law Center, who laid out a variety of alternative programs which could broaden access to home ownership and financial independence.

Read full article here.

(Originally published October 9, 2020.)

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November 2020 Newsletter: Land Back is not a trend

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Thanksgiving is one of the few times in the year we collectively acknowledge the contributions indigenous people have made to this country, as well as the genocide and land theft they’ve experienced through colonization. But we know acknowledging the indigenous people of this land and their stewardship of this place shouldn’t be a once a year thing. The Law Center’s growing work around re-matriation, banning land grabs, and radical real estate law school is an attempt to center indigenous land rights in all land justice work we do. (And on that note, if you’re an SF East Bay resident, make sure to pay your Shuumi Land Tax!)

How should we even begin to wrap our heads around land reparations and indigenous solidarity? Luckily our friends at Resource Generation made this toolkit (which includes our Brief Guide to Transferring Land) as a place to begin.

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Teachgiving Recap

Teachgiving Recap

[If you missed Teachgiving, you can find the recordings here: Day One, Day Two, and Day Three]

In anticipation of the holiday season - inaugurated every year by a a festivity of abundance that simultaneously shrouds an incredibly violent legacy of genocide and dispossession - the Law Center took the opportunity to huddle the same questions we often ask ourselves every year. What narratives are we upholding, and in turn, what narratives are we obscuring? How do we reconcile the privileges that we have been afforded and so comfortably rejoice in while acknowledging that they are exclusive privileges not afforded to many? How do we normalize, and in fact center the conversations on the spectre of our privilege? What resulted was a series of events titled Teachgiving, focused on the faces of land liberation we don’t often see. This series was focused not only on what we take for granted, but even more important what is not always in our purview when we are navigating the world. And it is precisely  that fact which makes a lot of what we were able to offer seem radical, recognizing that radical is not inherently that which is most provocative, but instead that a provocation is a natural reaction of questioning the very foundations of how we have historically engaged with the land unquestionably.

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Giving Thanks and Teachgiving

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By Christine Hernandez, Radical Real Estate Law School Apprentice

I am a wife, mother of four, grandmother, and gardener. I live in a 7 unit house very recently purchased by Bay Area Community Land Trust. We were successfully able to purchase our home after 5 years of squatting and a whole lot of community and tenant organizing. For this reality, my heart is full of gratitude. I’m dedicated to efforts that promote housing as a basic Human Right and make the law accessible to everyone. I advance these objectives as a legal apprentice and co-director of the Radical Real Estate Law School. 

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Recap: #RadicalRealEstateWeek

Faces of Panelists, "Radical Real Estate Week Recap: Recordings, Slides, and Resources"

We’re not shy in saying that #radicalrealestateweek was a huge success. Thank you to everyone who shared their work and brought energy to the convening. Hundreds of people from all over the US attended our workshops and panels. We also raised over $18,000 from community donations for all our work related to radical real estate. We had such a positive response to our ideas on land and housing justice, land rematriation, and radical legal tools for homeownership, that we thought we’d share the following resources to keep everyone’s creative juices flowing.

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From homelessness to real estate: How some Bay Area tenants won their affordable housing fight

By: LAURENCE DU SAULT , The Mercury News

Excerpt: Hernandez said the experience helped her find a new career path, one she realized she’s been practicing for years.

Now, she is a co-director for the Sustainable Economies Law Center’s new project: a “radical real estate law school” where apprentices like herself follow faculty attorneys for four years and then attempt to pass the bar. The goal is to teach future lawyers about alternative models of land ownership that help tenants buy and get affordable housing. In the meantime, Hernandez and Garlipp have started a Youtube channel for tenants facing eviction.

Read full article here.

(Originally published October 4, 2020.)

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Black Votes Matter!

By: Nube Brown and Malik Washington, Bay View

Excerpt: Right now, as this article is going to print, the Bay View is in the process of transitioning from a corporate model to a co-op model. That’s right! The Bay View is working with some wonderful attorneys from the Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) in Oakland and soon this historic national Black newspaper will be owned by the people – we will be offering our readers and subscribers an opportunity to actually own a share in our wonderful Black newspaper

Read full article here.

(Originally published October 1, 2020.)

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