This Week's Guest:

Air Date: February 1, 2024
Advocacy, Cooperative Advocate, Cooperative Development, Worker Co-ops

Kali Akuno, Director of Cooperation Jackson discusses Influence of the Arts in Promoting Co-ops


In honor of the 2024 Black History Month theme of African Americans and the Arts, Vernon interviews Kali Akuno, co-founder and Director and Cooperation Jackson. Vernon and Kali discuss new initiatives of Cooperation Jackson, and how the organization has used “the Arts” to inform and promote co-ops.

Kali Akuno is an organizer, educator, and writer for human rights and social justice. He is also a co-founder and director of Cooperation Jackson, which is an emerging network of worker cooperatives and supporting institutions. Cooperation Jackson is fighting to create economic democracy by creating a vibrant solidarity economy in Jackson, MS that will help transform Mississippi and the South.

Previously, Kali served as the Director of Special Projects and External Funding in the Mayoral Administration of the late Chokwe Lumumba of Jackson, MS. His focus was supporting cooperative development, sustainability, human rights and international relations.

Kali is also the co-editor of “Jackson Rising Redux: Lessons on Building the Future in the Present” and “Jackson Rising: the Struggle for Economic Democracy and Black Self-Determination in Jackson, MS“. He is the author of numerous articles and pamphlets including “the Jackson-Kush Plan: the Struggle for Black Self-Determination and Economic Democracy”, “Until We Win: Black Labor and Liberation in the Disposable Era”, “Operation Ghetto Storm: Every 28 Hours report” and “Let Your Motto Be Resistance: A Handbook on Organizing New Afrikan and Oppressed Communities for Self-Defense”. 

You can find more information about Cooperation Jackson at

Our host, Vernon Oakes, is a consummate advocate for cooperatives. He is a Past President of the National Association of Housing Cooperatives, and he’s served on several boards and committees to advance the interests of cooperatives. Recently, he served on the Limited Equity Cooperative Task Force, established by Anita Bonds, At-Large Member of the Council of the District of Columbia. Vernon is an MBA graduate of Stanford University, who has used his business acumen to benefit the community, by promoting the added value of the cooperative business model. 

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