Last month we had the chance to join Reggie Rucker and Luke Gannon on their podcast “Building Local Power” hosted by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Follow the link below to hear WYC members Addison Turner, Mario Harper, & Samuel Posner discuss and unpack “[our] experience growing up in Worcester, lay out the social and cultural inequities that the city faces, and rewrite popular ideologies to encourage an active community.” https://ilsr.org/youth-present-episode157/ We developed the initial strategy of Worcester Youth Cooperatives after carefully considering the contradictory and complex ways our social, economic, and political relations are interwoven. We understand the ways in which daily life is reproduced through the motion of global economic imperialism challenges our desire build power locally in mutual self-determination with oppressed communities around the world. Our first experiments to genuinely change our community have yielded so many valuable results, connections, & lessons we are working to integrate into our evolving framework. Shout-out to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance for inviting us to join their Podcast to share our stories and uplift our local effort! Transcript provided by and available at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance Addison Turner: It’s not just about giving people things, and then walking away, but establishing a relationship with the intention of supporting the self-determination and survival of people who are at risk due to oppression, exploitation, and social exclusion. And that’s where we developed the Worcester Youth Cooperatives model is to work our own cooperatives so that we are producing value democratically. Reggie Rucker: Hello, and welcome to Building Local Power, a podcast from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance dedicated to challenging corporate monopolies and expanding the power of people to shape their own future. I am Reggie Rucker, one of the hosts on this journey. On today’s show, we are engaging …
We are excited to announce the new location of our co-op incubator. This is a space where we can grow as a community and as people. We are open to new opportunities such as hosting events, having private meetings, and ways to get to know our community better. Stay tuned and join us on our journey and stay informed with updates, events, and ways to get involved. Thank you!
So it begins! Before February came to a close, we decided to Make Black History and launch our first youth-led co-learning space. Youth Cooperative Solutions Academy (YCSA) is planned as a 24-week program that supports youth to identify social issues they care about and create “cooperative solutions.” We welcomed an amazing group of WYC members and interns. First we got grounded talk about our origin story, reviewed our recent accomplishments, and mapped our network before going over logistics. We ended the session with a hour-long relationship-building activity that mixed various forms of self-expression.
Excerpt from “Building Co-ops and Serving the Community” by Megan McGee (Geo.Coop) “Recent social movements led by young people have shown Gen Z to be more progressive than any generation before, and more likely to embrace alternatives to the oppressive systems that previous generations have accepted as a given. While this has prompted many to speculate on what this could mean for the future, right now the youth of Worcester, MA are seizing the present to create change in their community. In a city with a poverty rate of more than 20%, exacerbated by the impact of Covid-19 on the local economy, a group of determined young people have formed a network of cooperatives to earn money while helping to meet the needs of their most vulnerable neighbors throughout the community. Worcester Youth Cooperatives was started in October 2020 by six high school students to build “cooperative solutions” to the social issues they care about. They found each other while involved in an educational program where they learned the basics of cooperative economics and gained practical experience in growing hydroponic vegetables. “At first, I didn’t know anything about it,” says Genesis, 18. Like Genesis, most of the founders’ journeys in cooperative economics began as a summer job. Jahir, 17, got involved with the program through Genesis, who he says told him what a good opportunity it was to help their community. Laci, who is now 17, had been working for the program since she was 14 years old, and her brother Livingston also helped found the co-op. “It was kind of a group thing,” he says. “I wanted to stay with people I trust, get along with.” The objective of the educational program was for the youth to start a worker cooperative with hydroponic farming, but along the way, the …
Welcome! We are Worcester Youth Cooperatives. We are an autonomous collective of youth-run cooperatives that pools together resources and skills to transform our communities, educate other youth to start their own cooperatives, and struggle together for collective liberation! In September, 2020 6 high school seniors founded WYCs in the midst of the CoronaVirus Pandemic. Genesis, Yari, Laci, Livingston, Jahir, and Mekhi saw that homelessness, the opiate pandemic, hunger, and other systemic problems were exacerbated by the global spread of the virus. The youth linked up with their friends, Mutual Aid Worcester, 508 BikeLife, and community allies to rapidly organize 3 “cooperative solutions” to social issues they cared about: “Hydroponic Healers Co-op” grows produce which, “BikeLife Delivery Co-op“ distributes along with items from food pantries and various other sources while “S.O.S. Worcester“ unites with the most vulnerable members of our community in the course of providing access to life-saving resources and even free basic medical services to the streets! This is just the beginning. We want to inspire more youth to start co-ops through our “Co-op Solutions Academy” and indirectly through our example. You don’t need any credentials to organize and NO ONE needs to give you permission to change your community! Find out how to Unite With Us, and all are invited to Support Youth Power by contributing monetary resources towards our organizing.
BIG SHOUT-OUT to everyone who has contributed to support our mission over the past month. Y’all have shared coats, shoes, hand-knit blankets, and cash that we have used to buy tampons, pads, hygiene kits, gloves, and other supplies for our homeless neighbors. Now that the eviction moratorium is over and now that is SNOWING we’re feeling the pressure to organize URGENT support for the streets ASAP. None of us are comfortable this winter until all of us are comfortable! None of us are free until all of us are free! PEOPLE IN PARTICULAR ARE ASKING US FOR GLOVES AND WE ALREADY RAN OUT! If you have any to donate, that’s great! Hit us up to arrange a drop-off. If not, please donate directly: Venmo: @BuildWYC CashApp: $PowerWYC We still have some of our exclusive WYC pins for people who donate at least $25 dollars. GET EM WHILE SUPPLIES LAST!