How can co-ops review our history in a way that acknowledges our mistakes, and boldly affirms resolve to step more intentionally towards Diversity Equity, Inclusion and Justice (DEI&J) goals as a way of living more deeply into cooperative principles?
As part of a DEI peer group organized by the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA CLUSA), we organized a conversation with John Holdsclaw IV, who just founded an emerging Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) called Rochdale Capital. Over the past 15+ years, John has been the Executive Vice President for Strategic Initiatives at the National Cooperative Bank. He offers context on his experience in government relations, community development, cooperatives, philanthropy, the struggle for racial equity, and invitations for co-op leaders & investors.
Some of my highlights from this conversation are in the last 3-5 minutes when John says:
"The future comes down to two things: thought leadership & capital..."
"We need to put forth an effort to raise the level of visibility, advocate, fight...."
"CDFIs were once an idea, then movement, now it's an industry... We've lost the movement"
"You know why the civil rights movement ended? Because Black folks got Air conditioning..."
"We need to get and go promote and talk about the cooperative principles."