We're kicking off this month’s newsletter by sharing the below message from Sustainable Economies Law Center’s co-founder, Janelle Orsi, who offers a new collection of writings and videos, along with a collection of legal resources to support land return to community stewardship.
Below that, you’ll find our newsletter full of new resources, newsworthy updates, and more!
A message from Janelle Orsi
I hope this email brings you bursts of hope and nourishment. I’m sharing a collection of recent writings and videos in a slideshow called Patches of Aliveness. It’s like a quilt I’ve stitched together for the beautiful humans who are organizing more just, equitable, and caring communities. Each slide is a patch that, on its own, can perhaps bring you warmth or even inspiration when you need it. As a collection, I hope the patches can start to form a picture of a more nurturing world to heal the wounds inflicted by our legal and economic systems.
I’ve taken time to reflect on my past 15 years of work with cooperatives, land trusts, urban gardens, mutual aid collectives, and a wide range of grassroots groups. I’ve been immersed in systems like law, real estate, energy, and finance, but I’ve grown increasingly uneasy with the harm we cause when working within such systems. At their core, these systems operate with a logic that divides us and fosters domination and exploitation. Even when we attempt to fashion such systems in the name of justice and equality, we’re still working in systems that have their roots in violence.
If you want to read about how Janelle's learnings have taught her to hold hope for a more connected way of being and how she's applied her inspiration to the work of returning land to community stewardship, building energy democracy, and reimagining relationships to the law and more, read her blog post here.
Sharing Our Needs
Earlier this month, we shared on our blog that in 2023, the Law Center will run low on funding, by nearly $1 million dollars. Luckily a few weeks later, a long-time Law Center fan and friend, Ali Mann, gave a one-time gift of $500,000 from her inheritance. We feel humbled, grateful, and hopeful that more people with wealth will feel called to redistribute their money to organizations like us and our collaborators, who are working to build just and equitable systems for our communities.
Seeds of Land Return offers several legal tools to ease the process of returning land to Black, Indigenous, and other frontline communities. Many of the resources we developed in collaboration with our clients, like Sogorea Te’ Land Trust. Please share this toolkit far and wide with others who are called to land return work.
The California Employee Ownership Act is law
Thanks to the advocacy and hard work of the Worker-Owned Recovery California (WORC) Coalition — of which SELC is a member with organizations like the Democracy at Work Institute, the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives, Project Equity, and Ownership America — Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill 1407 into law! The Act equips California's small business owners with options for succession and employee engagement and gives workers across the state a chance to become co-owners of the companies where they work.
Esteban Kelly, Executive Director of the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives shares, “For decades we have seen worker co-ops thrive in California. Businesses like Rainbow Grocery, Cheeseboard Collective, Courage Home Care and Echo Adventures illustrate the diversity of industries in which workers can succeed, build wealth, and center their needs using cooperative models. The California Employee Ownership Act creates dynamic support for worker ownership within Go-Biz by establishing an office that provides strategic resources toward the expansion of worker co-ops and ESOPs. The Employee Ownership Hub is the first step in fostering the growth of durable businesses that build worker power in California.”
Itzel Nuño, SELC’s staff member who serves on the Core Committee of WORC shares, “I am very proud of all the work the WORC Coalition and our partners did to ensure that our state government not only values, but also directly supports, employee ownership in California.” This act will help expand the network of California’s employee owned businesses and create opportunities for working people to build wealth. A big win for worker-owners!
“Through The Next Egg, we were looking at how to unlock (retirement) funds to invest more locally and have people be able to invest money in things they care about and pull it out of fossil fuels and things damaging our Earth and exploiting workers.” — Cameron Rhudy, staff attorney at the Law Center.
Check out the full article here.