What We Do
Cooperation New Orleans’ mission is to develop worker-owned cooperatives and the structures to support them, with a focus on poor and working class Black, indigenous, and immigrant communities.
Our communities— African American, Latinx, immigrant, indigenous, and Afro-descendent Garifuna—--have long legacies, cultural practices, and lived experience that reinforce cooperative economics, though they may not use that terminology. We aim to strengthen the cooperative infrastructure/ecosystem in New Orleans by developing political education and practicing language justice, sharing skills and resources, and developing a community loan fund.
Education and Language Justice
Cooperation New Orleans shares a vision of deepening relationships among intersecting communities of color. Using popular education to recognize that people are experts in their own experience, our workshops collectivize the knowledge of cooperative practice that our communities bring. Language justice is a critical component of building solidarity among working class communities of color. In practicing the principle of ‘Cooperation among Cooperatives’, BanchaLenguas Language Justice Collective is a core partner in the creation of language justice within the framework of Cooperation New Orleans; allowing for all members in our ecosystem to communicate across languages.
Our key educational project this year has been centered around a series of educational workshops with members of Familias Unidas en Accion, whose 2020 Vision initiative sought to launch at least one worker-owned cooperative, while also seeding others. Coming into 2021, we are continuing to strengthen our vision for deepening practical knowledge about worker-owned cooperatives, setting our sights on establishing a "Co-op Academy."
Resource Mapping and Sharing
Cooperation New Orleans is an emerging platform and facilitator for sharing information among and between cooperative projects. We leverage the support and resources of existing worker co-ops, land trusts, worker organizing projects, as well as financial and legal tools and resources.
Through our gatherings, workshop series, loan fund development, and dedication to expanding the cooperative system in New Orleans, we continue to strengthen our capacities and serve as a hub for sharing technical skills and political education. This work includes strengthening our online presence, community education offerings, creating a directory of cooperatives in the New Orleans area, launching a print media series, and maintaining our weekly radio show, where we explore questions of U.S. imperialism and deportation as it relates to Covid-19 in Central America, visibilizing the leadership of Black trans women, and curating queer- and POC-affirming cultural spaces.
Building a Community Loan Fund
CNO is structuring a community Loan Fund, through which cooperatives in the New Orleans area can receive low-interest, non-extractive loans. This work is actualized through our peer-membership relationship with Seed Commons, a national cooperative funding sustainable local economies.