Cooperative Banking for Black Lives

The party, hosted by the Association for Black Economic Power (ABEP) at its new office in North Minneapolis, celebrated the growing local movement to empower the black community to invest in its own neighborhoods and divest from systemic harms (such as institutions that extract local resources and wealth).

And there was much to celebrate: For one, the 2017 city council victories of event speakers Andrea Jenkins (the first African-American, openly trans woman to be elected to public office) and Jeremiah Ellison (son of Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison).

For another, ABEP’s progress toward the creation of an African-American credit union, Village Trust Financial Cooperative. The idea was born in the wake of the police killings of Philando Castile in July 2016 and Jamar Clark in 2015, and the five Black Lives Matter protesters shot by a white supremacist, also in 2015. For Me’Lea Connelly, it was too much. She wondered how the black community might, actively and democratically, determine how to engage in protest without risking the lives, bodies and mental health of its young people.

Connelly facilitated a number of community meetings that collectively determined to pursue a strategy of financial divestment and reinvestment, ultimately deciding to build a credit union. They voted on the name “Village Trust.”

Read the rest at In These Times


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