Board Statement on Racism, Food Justice and Our Co-op Community
Dear Co-op Owners and Supporters,
The Board of the Assabet Village Co-op Market would like to add our voice to the chorus of others and say: Black Lives Matter. Full Stop.
As your elected leaders, we recognize that there is work for us to do. So please consider this only the first of what will be a continuing series of communications from us around our solidarity work and joining with other community organizations to take action against these injustices.
To start, we’d like to share our statement of principles:
For more than 170 years, cooperative organizations have celebrated human diversity and worked to bring people together to meet needs and achieve aspirations through empowerment and inclusion. The Cooperative is committed to our democratic organization, food justice, anti-racism, and building a cooperative society.
The Board is committed to the development of policies and strategies that will sustain our communities over time, including: supporting environmentally and economically sustainable food systems; building a vibrant, connected, cooperative community within and outside of the boundaries of our storefront; meeting community needs; and strengthening area diversity through products, services, and education.
Accordingly, the Board will:
- Ensure that no policies are implemented that jeopardize the Cooperative’s commitment to inclusion and anti-discrimination.
- Ensure that our doors are open to all persons, without overt or subtle discrimination.
- Ensure that people from a diversity of backgrounds feel comfortable shopping at, working for, or participating in the Cooperative.
- Ensure that the Cooperative is committed to treating all jobs and all employees with dignity.
- Ensure that the Cooperative upholds the values of equality, solidarity and caring for others.
- Uphold the Cooperative’s commitment to being a welcoming business and empowering community enterprise. The Board seeks to be a positive resource and influence, presenting opportunities for constructive dialogue and collective actions for change, and to explore ways to reach beyond our walls, advocating for policies that will contribute to democracy and equality, advance human rights, and support environmental sustainability.
- Value respectful dialog, debate, and participation as expressions of economic democracy.
- Ensure that our Cooperative provides products and services that are accessible and appealing to the broader communities.
A Co-op Call to Action to Combat Racism and Work for Food Justice
At this stage in our effort to open our community-owned grocery store, our small volunteer Board is working around the clock to secure our site and prepare for our capital campaign so that we can begin serving the community’s needs around food access, which are only increasing because of the pandemic.
But we cannot wait to take action to support anti-racism initiatives and food justice. To that end …
Please Support the Maynard Anti-Racism Alliance
MARA’s mission is to “learn with and support individuals in our community who seek to confront and take action to dismantle systemic racism.” We encourage you to join MARA’s mailing list by clicking here and be part of the Alliance’s upcoming initiatives and events:
- Urgent Action: MARA’s Indigenous People’s Task Force
MARA and Maynard students have been urging the School Committee to change the school calendar to reflect Indigenous Peoples Day. Unfortunately, they have not taken action. MARA needs more voices. Click here to take action now.
- Event: Sun., June 14, 2:30-3:30pm: Maynard Solidarity Protest!
Join MARA in keeping the momentum up from the last two weeks at the corner of Nason Street & Summer Street to bring awareness to and end systemic racism and police brutality. Please wear masks – signs encouraged!
- Shared Event: Thurs., June 18, 5-6:30pm: “Raising Antiracist Kids”
An online book launch with Ibram X. Kendi & Derecka Purnell, click here to sign up.
Please Join the Co-op Food Justice Committee!
We are seeking Owners to pick up the work begun last year by our Food Justice Committee and create an official Co-op Action Plan for Food Justice and Combating Racism in our Co-op. That document will be given to our General Manager with a Board mandate to implement its recommendations. Committee work will include:
- Outreach to the FJC’s established list of local organizations serving marginalized residents to determine needs and create a Food Justice plan to be implemented at our store.
- Drafting direct actions to combat racism in our Co-op Community and create a community-owned grocery store that fulfills Cooperative Principle #1: Building a food co-op that is “open to all people able to use its services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.”
If you are interested in being part of the Food Justice Committee, please e-mail Lorne@assabetvillage.coop. We need committee members to lead this effort.
Stay tuned for updates as we work with our partners to fight racism in our community and build a locally sourced, community-owned grocery store that increases access to healthy food for all.
AVCM Board of Directors