I had the pleasure and privilege of joining a roundtable discussion on March 17, 2022, hosted by the Nonprofit Quarterly, on how to build cultures that can sustain solidarity economies. This was an amazing session featuring speakers Gar Alperovitz, Jessica Gordon Nembhard, and Ronnie Galvin. I joined the speakers and a group of solidarity economy leaders and thinkers to discuss the importance and necessity of cultural change work.
The article summarizing our session is now available here: https://nonprofitquarterly.org/building-a-solidarity-culture/. Thanks to Steve Dubb and Rithika Ramamurthy for inviting me.
Here are a few excerpts from the NPQ article:
This conversation was inspired too by a recognition that without a shift at the level of culture, a society organized around a solidarity economy will not be possible. Culture, as Howard University law professor Harold McDougall has noted, is fundamentally about how people solve problems. The neoliberal order of the past four decades may be fraying, but achieving a just transition requires not just new policies, but a shift in culture—from a dominant hyper-individualistic culture to one that sustains community.
Alperovitz, in his remarks, asked the critical question: “What are the economic institutions that can nurture community?” Gordon Nembhard followed with the observation that culture change work must be rooted in the notion that “we’re all exalted beings who are trying to make things better for ourselves, our families, our communities—and we’re doing it together.” For his part, Galvin called attention to centering the concept of ubuntu, the notion “that my freedom and my humanity is caught up in your humanity, that my liberation is your liberation, if we can convince more people of that, then we might be able to build a basis or a culture of solidarity.”