The growing discontent with income inequality and the oppression and misrepresentation of marginalized people is compelling people to consider alternatives to the current winner-take-all paradigm. The movement, paired with the emergence of new technology creates a unique opportunity for CEANYC.
Leveraging digital tools to collect data, corrall volunteers, and organize cross-sector programs, CEANYC is able to unite co-ops under a single banner. In the short term, they learn from one another, empower one another, and amplify each others’ impact. In the long-term, they unite to form a political voice and demand systemic change.
Michelle is is the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions’s Program Officer. In that role, she oversees the implementation and expansion of programs and tools that advance financial empowerment and expand financial inclusion in low-income and underserved communities. Prior to joining the Federation, Ms. Parker was a senior analyst at Callahan & Associates where she specialized in credit union research, consulting, and strategic planning. Additionally, she has developed asset-building programs and products through her previous work at Credit Builders Alliance. She currently serves as a First Round Judge for Morgan Stanley’s annual investing challenge, and locally supports community development through her mentor role at StreetWise Partners. Ms. Parker holds a BA from George Mason University and a graduate Budget and Finance certificate from Georgetown University.
Anne is the co-founder of Q Gardens and serves on the board of the Brooklyn Queens Land Trust (BQLT), which is a grassroots non-profit that preserves 37 community gardens throughout Brooklyn and Queens. Since 2016, Anne has chaired BQLT’s grants committee, leading proposal development and managing the implementation of several cross-garden, grant-funded projects. Her paid work is in public health and she believes deeply in the power of community gardens to bring neighbors together, improve mental and physical health, and increase community resilience.
Mark Winston Griffith
Mark is a nationally recognized thought leader, community organizer and journalist. A native of Crown Heights, Mark Winston Griffith is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Brooklyn Movement Center (BMC), a membership-based, community organizing group serving the neighborhoods of Bedford-Stuyvesant and North Crown Heights. He is also an adjunct faculty member of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism where he teaches a course in Urban Social Issues. In the early nineties, Mark co-founded the Central Brooklyn Partnership, a community organizing group that focused on economic justice issues, and was co-founder of Central Brooklyn Federal Credit Union, which at the time was the nation’s largest community based financial cooperative. He currently serves on the boards of the Brooklyn Cooperative Federal Credit Union, Little Sun People Early Childhood Education Center, the Riders Alliance, and Free Speech TV. Until recently he was on the boards of the Center for an Urban Future and the Center for Working Families.
His work has included a survey of every limited-equity cooperative (LEC) in the USA and the creation of the 6th Principle Coalition, named after the 6th Principle of Cooperation, “Cooperation among Cooperatives,” to meet the LEC needs. UHAB, along with the founding members of the coalition (The National Association of Housing Cooperatives, The Grounded Solutions Network, City First Homes, Cooperators United for Mitchell Lama and the Council of New York Cooperatives and Condos) represent nearly all housing cooperatives of any type in the United States. The coalition has secured some funding to implement initial activities that include: training and workshops for practitioners interested in developing LECs, training and workshops for co-op members in locations that lack resources, and the creation of an online platform for sectoral research and resources.
Emilie has over ten years of experience working with grassroots food, agricultural, and environmental justice organizations in Baltimore, the Hudson Valley, and NYC. She has shared in the successes and struggles of communities building their own responses to no or dissatisfactory food choices – starting gardens, CSAs, farmers markets, and teaching ancestral food practices – building a food system by and for community. Her work in NYC community food systems has included managing Just Food’s CSA and Farm Network. While stewarding the Network she worked on particular initiatives to develop shared resources, peer mentorship opportunities, and deepen collaboration between groups. She worked in coalition with regional CSA network leaders, farmers, and advocates to develop the Charter of CSA for the US and Canada with the goal of protecting the CSA model from cooption and grounding it in principles of justice.
Rajesh Kottamasu is a public interest designer whose values and perspectives have been shaped by his involvement in cooperatives. He has spent nine years living in housing cooperatives in Brooklyn and Cambridge, is a ten-year member of the Park Slope Food Coop, and worked for several years in collaboration with the Meerkat Media Worker Coop, in addition to being a member of the Meerkat Media artist collective. Across these groups, he has worked in support of mission-oriented initiatives articulating goals, clarifying terms of membership, structuring and planning budgets, and recruiting new members. His day job is designing processes and services for a cancer hospital, where he draws from from prior experience in service design, urban planning, teaching, filmmaking, and graphic design
Tara is Senior Program Manager at the Center for NYC Neighborhoods where she oversees financial capability programming to help working and middle class New Yorkers achieve or maintain the dream of homeownership. Because the high cost of housing and competition from wealthier buyers remain the largest barriers to homeownership in NYC, she is proud to be part of the Center’s initiative to launch the Interboro Community Land Trust, which will create permanently affordable homeownership opportunities in our city through shared equity and democratic governance. She also served as Senior Program Officer at the NYC Office of Financial Empowerment where she helped to launch financial capability services for worker cooperatives in partnership with Make the Road. While at OFE, she also maintained partnerships with Community Development Credit Unions such as Lower East Side People’s FCU. Prior to moving to NYC, Tara worked in state government in Ohio, where she led a partnership with the Ohio Employee Ownership Center to provide low-cost succession loans for employees purchasing their workplace to become worker owners. She has also been an active member of several community gardens.
Saduf is a Pakistani-American who grew up exploring the woods of Akron, Ohio. She moved to New York City in 2000, where she has been working as a community organizer, direct service provider, and cooperative developer for over a decade within various community-based organizations throughout the city. Formerly, as Director of Make the Road New York’s workforce development services, Saduf launched and grew a unique workforce program that addressed the needs of immigrant communities through the integration of workers’ rights and occupational health and safety training, the building of strong partnerships with multiple entities such as other workforce organizations, government agencies, unions, and academic institutions, and finally, the co-development of worker cooperatives that aim to create quality jobs and offer living wages. She is currently the Coordinating Director of the NYC Network of Worker Cooperatives.
Evan is a 3rd generation New Yorker born in the Bronx. He earned a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of New Orleans in 2011, and was a White House Intern in the Spring of 2012 in the Domestic Policy Council’s Office of Urban Affairs. In the summer of 2013 he was a Research Fellow for the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives. He is currently a Doctoral Candidate (ABD) at the Bloustein School of Urban Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, studying economic democracy and policy development.
Cheyenna Layne WeberGeneral Coordinator
Cheyenna is a writer and organizer who elevates the needs of people and the planet over profit. For 20 years she has worked with social justice, environmental, and community organizations in every capacity from volunteer to executive director. In addition to her role as a co-founder and current staff with CEANYC, she is a co-founder and member of SolidarityNYC, where she led the creation of the first online interactive map of New York City’s solidarity economy, and an Associate Member of the editorial collective Grassroots Economic Organizing (GEO). Previously she spearheaded the creation of the New Economy Coalition while executive director of the New Economy Network, served on the Board of Directors at Lower East Side People’s Federal Credit Union, and helped start five worker cooperatives from Occupy Wall Street’s tenure in downtown Manhattan.
Evie ZavidowPrograms and Operations Coordinator
Evie is a Brooklyn-based (by way of South Pasadena, California) worker-owner, community gardener, and solidarity economy organizer. Over the past couple of years, she has been involved in anti-mass incarceration and restorative justice work with an emphasis on queer and trans incarcerated folks, environmental and immigrant justice organizing, and coordinating a radical discussion group about all things related to gender and sexual identity. Her passion for environmental, economic, racial, and gender justice, and a deep love for New York City, brings her to solidarity economy work, where she serves as Programs and Operations Coordinator for CEANYC.
Deneen Reynolds-KnottPeer Educator
Deneen Reynolds-Knott is a playwright/workshop facilitator living in Brooklyn, New York. She is a volunteer Brooklyn Urban Gardener (BUG) with the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, supporting community gardens around the borough. Currently, she is organizing a group of Teaching Theatre Artists to explore forming a workers-cooperative.Sample Description
Lauren HudsonPeer Educator
Lauren has been a member of SolidarityNYC since 2012. She is currently a doctoral student in Earth and Environmental Sciences at the CUNY Graduate Center where she writes about anti-capitalist organizing among women in NYC. Her research interests concern how economic subjectivities are created between and among those who perform the majority of SE labor, how their narratives of the solidarity economy cohere and diverge from dominant SE discourses, and how such discourses create a sense of ‘movement space’. A native Californian, Lauren now lives in Brooklyn where she tweets about the Solidarity Economy and bad TV at @blactivist.
Zara Serabian-ArthurPeer Educator
Zara is a founding member of Meerkat Media, a filmmaking collective and worker cooperative formed in 2005. In her work with Meerkat Media, she produces, directs and edits films in collaboration with non-profits and movement organizations, also taking a leadership role in the group’s facilitation, strategic planning, and educational projects. She is also a member of SolidarityNYC, a volunteer collective that works to connect, support and promote NYC’s solidarity economy through mapping, community-based research and public education. Zara is passionate about the worker cooperative movement, and the interconnected projects of building local solidarity economies and fighting for broader social justice goals.
Jess TurnerPeer Educator
Jess Turner is a Black herbalist, urban farmer and educator helping marginalized communities build autonomy through land-based healing practices. She and comrades are in the planning stages of a worker-owned medicinal herb farm called Stellaria Farm Coop.
Lida ShaoPeer Educator
Lida is an educator with over a decade of experience in youth development and food democracy. Currently a collective member and owner at Our House, an owned housing cooperative in Brooklyn, she is also a first year medical student. When not studying, lida is working the land–growing vegetables, raising chickens, keeping bees, composting organics, collecting rainwater, and building a mini-farm in the city. She is proud to be a martial artist, a foodie with interest in raw foods, a winter bicyclist, and a multi-lingual New Yorker. Raised in a politically active family, she continues the tradition with an especial interest in prison abolition and ending sexual violence in our lifetime.
Lauryl Berger-ChunPeer Educator
Lauryl Berger-Chun is a worker-owner at A Bookkeeping Cooperative (ABC) and a Receiving Coordinator at the Park Slope Food Coop. She has organizing experience with student, food, and worker cooperatives and is a trained peer advisor who supports solidarity economy groups with research, technical assistance, and facilitation.