Michael Partis, Executive Director at the Bronx Cooperative Development Initiative (BCDI), discusses the correlation between Cooperatives and Economic Democracy. Michael also shares several instances where BCDI has supported the formation of cooperatives.
Michael Partis is also a Researcher at the Bronx African American History Project, where he and Professor Mark Naison are editing “After The Fires:” a collection of post-1970s South Bronx oral histories. He is also co-founder of The Bronx Brotherhood Project, a community-based college success program for Black and Latino teens at the New Settlement College Access Center. Formerly, he was the Director of South Bronx Rising Together (SBRT): a collective impact initiative dedicated to improving health, grade-level reading and math, and post-secondary outcomes in the neighborhoods of Morrisania and Crotona Park West.
The Bronx Cooperative Development Initiative is a community-led planning and economic development organization. BCDI’s approach to cooperative development is to continuously grow its network of community and labor organizations, anchor institutions, and small businesses to build an equitable, sustainable, and democratic local economy that creates shared wealth and ownership for low-income people of color, which is referred to as economic democracy. BCDI firmly believes that economic democracy will position Bronx residents as the collective decision-makers and owners of the borough’s future.
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.