Speaking as a leader of our co-op community, I want to echo the sentiment shared by Michael Faber, our General Manager, that in this moment, we all are challenged to examine our own values, attitudes, and behaviors.
I want to share some reflections on two of the co-op values that seem particularly relevant.
EQUALITY speaks to our belief that each person, irrespective of talent, skill, or appearance, possesses an intrinsic value. Thus, each human is of no greater or lesser value than anyone else. Each person is intrinsically valuable. Among the questions facing us at this moment is: “How is that value demonstrated in the decisions we make, as individuals and collectively?”
EQUITY has two distinct, but related meanings. First, equity refers to FAIRNESS in the relationships between and among individuals and the manner with which authority is exercised over persons. The other definition refers to the ASSETS with which persons can protect themselves against exploitation by others. In the current context, racial equity can be accumulated through, among other changes, equal access to health care and employment, improvements in education, safe and affordable housing, and safe and fair treatment in the criminal justice system.
So what’s next? There is never a wrong time for self-examination of the ways in which our privilege has impacted our world view. There is never a wrong time to begin to educate ourselves about the history and legacy of racism in America. Here are some ideas that might start us on that path:
- Stay engaged even when your mind and body start sending you signals to shrink or walk away.
- Ask clarifying questions.
- Acknowledge what you don’t know.
- Journal to process emotions such as shame and anger that can guide you to deeper self- awareness about how power and privilege impact you.
- Learn about and support public policy changes that will impact racial equality and racial equity.
For more information and resources, check out the racial equity resources page compiled by Food Solutions New England (FSNE), a six-state regional network creating a healthy, just, and resilient food system that works for everyone.