March 2021 Newsletter: Breath and budding life

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Breathe in.

Breathe out. 

Never again will we take breathing — alongside our loved ones, gathered in a public place, or next to strangers — for granted.  

We’ve held a collective breath these past 12 months. Can we relax, breathe deeply, and start to be hopeful that the pandemic is receding? In response to institutions and government systems unwilling to care for our communities, those of us working in service of the solidarity economy found space to expand people’s understanding of mutual aid, solidarity, and cooperation. After all our work to leverage the moment, will things go “back to normal,” meaning back to systems which did not serve the greater good?

We’re hopeful that the shifts in our culture —recognizing the harm in extraction and detachment, towards mutuality and care — are only the beginning. The Law Center has witnessed the blossoming of projects, collaborations, and ideas grounded and reinforced by this unprecedented time. Below we share some exciting things happening in our community and we hope you can find ways to plug in.

Four Years of Prosperidad

Prospera members meeting

This year marks the 4th year of collaboration between The Law Center and Prospera! Over the years we’ve given legal advice to over 50 businesses via Prospera. This year, Prospera shared with us that while 44 of the 120 people registered for their Explora Tu Cooperativa course are based in California, participants came from all over the US, including Texas and Massachusetts, and some are even in Canada, Chile, Peru and Mexico! They started in 2017 as an in-person, Spanish version of the Legal Cafes. The Cafecitos Legales have blossomed and expanded their reach during the pandemic thanks to the accessibility of online gatherings.

We’re so honored to be doing this work alongside them!

EB PREC Public Offering!

East Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative (EB PREC) is launching a groundbreaking cultural and economic revival project at the 7th Street’s historic Esther’s Orbit Room—the former center of Oakland’s Black music, business & arts Renaissance movement.

A black man stands outside Esthers Orbit Room with building plans

If you missed the presentation, you can watch it here. Here’s the project prospectus document for even more information on how to invest in the black radical vision of what Oakland could be.

CALL TO ACTION: Block this Land Grab!

Sustainable Economies Law Center is working with Jocelyn’s Corner, a community group affiliated with the Berkeley Unified School District and Moms4Housing on a high profile project to reclaim a recently foreclosed home for a widely-adored community member. This is a high impact project because it's the first group to harness a powerful new legal tool that grassroots groups advocated for under California’s new SB 1079. Under the new law, communities and tenants have a 45-day window after a foreclosure auction to organize funding and take back a home by matching the winning auction bid. The home will be made affordable to Jocelyn Foreman and others in perpetuity. This will likely be a model for many more groups, and will help the State of California see the potential impact of allocating substantial public funding for future projects.

Jocelyn Foreman is a cornerstone of Berkeley Unified, serving the school district for over 20 years. In her current role as Family Engagement & Equity Specialist, Jocelyn works tirelessly to connect families with resources, prioritizing those that struggle to identify safe and affordable housing. Jocelyn believes that housing is a human right and advocates for her families at every turn and opportunity. Unfortunately, the home Jocelyn rents was sold at a trustee sale (public auction) on March 4, 2021.

image of Jocelyn Foreman with text that reads "Jocelyn's Corner vs Wedgewood"

The prevailing bid at auction ($600,000.00) was placed by Wedgewood Properties, Inc, “the Home-Flipping Giant” who have battled homeless mothers. Will you help us remove Jocelyn’s home from the speculative market and make it permanently affordable and community owned?

Jocelyn now has less than 3 weeks to match the bid and buy the house using new rights established by SB 1079. Will you make a tax deductible donation here?

Keep our client blaQyard rooted!

blaQyard is a group of Black queer artists in Oakland. They want to co-steward the land that they live and make art on. In the past, they’ve organized mediation sessions for QTPOC groups, garden workdays, and retreats. Once the pandemic is over, they hope to organize more workshops, events, and classes for the community.

image of four Black queer artists with text \

Like so many other radical groups, blaQyard is in danger of being displaced from Oakland and they need your help. They’ve already raised ~$5,000 to pay back their rent debt. Please pitch in what you can so they can stop worrying about their housing situation and start focusing on their art and growing their collective.

Showing 1 reaction

  • Mwende Hinojosa
    published this page in Blog 2021-05-12 10:53:44 -0700

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