Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin
Recommended by NASCO Board Director and ICC Ann Arbor member Julia Selig
In these turbulent times marked by loss and yet full of new and rediscovered drives and passions, I have found sensible, if not outright necessary, for retrospection and, more importantly, introspection. With the blessing and the curse of an eloquence that forces its reader to listen regardless of their racial identity, James Baldwin’s first nonfiction publication Notes of a Native Son allow us to do just that.
A man fervently opposed to the construction or the view of blackness as a monolith was somehow able to accurately write about his own blackness in a way that resonates across the African Diaspora inside and outside of the United States of America. I recommend this for NASCO’s first book of the month so that we sit in the comfort and the pain to think again of the role of identities, family, race, class, responsibility, and hope to name a few. I wish that with Notes of a Native Son we discover and revisit with a more critical lens literary works and narratives that aim to speak or explain our country and our society.
Since NASCO was founded, our housing co-ops have served as spaces for organizing against oppression and violence in our communities. Right now, as people all over the US are protesting and standing up against continued violence against black people, we call on our member co-ops to uphold our tradition of solidarity in social action.
Having these communal spaces instills in us a responsibility to steward them toward work for the common good. Talk to your housemates. Talk with your community. Take what actions you can to support our black members and the black community at large.
For our non-black members who plan to take direct actions, please center the needs and safety of black protestors around you in your actions, and follow their lead. This message is especially for white members who face less risk in confronting the police or other authorities.
NASCO stands against the continued murder of black people by police and supports all efforts to end it.
Our friends at the TESA Collective put together this guide on what you can do to support protests right now. It includes:
Please join us in welcoming new members to the NASCO Board of Directors. NASCO's dedicated board members help us remain responsive to the needs of the co-op movement. During this unprecedented time, we look to our board directors to keep us grounded in the increasingly important work of our members and our larger network as we continue to provide resources, direct assistance, and connection to the North American cooperative sector.
From left to right: Hadron Chaudhary, Madeleine Durante, Caroline Elbert, Josh Graham, Alec Martinez, Julia Selig, and Lana Wong. Not pictured: Katie Isme.
Last updated: May 13, 2020
Housing cooperatives and our members are in a unique position during the COVID-19 outbreak to utilize the values and skillsets we've prioritized as a movement: concern for community, responsibility, mutual aid, solidarity, and organization.
NASCO is working to continue our mission to provide resources and encouragement to housing cooperatives across North America during this global crisis. We are shifting our programming to meet the situation, providing space for cooperatives to build and share action plans, and connecting co-ops to resources as needed.
We are closely monitoring the increasing spread of COVID-19 and taking proactive steps to support our members and the communities that they are embedded within. We are continuously evaluating the situation and adjusting as needed.
See below for:
The NASCO Board is opening applications to fill three open board seats.
Appointments are for one year terms from April 2020 to March 2021.
The board will prioritize voting on candidates who meet the skills gaps identified by our External Affairs Committee, including:
- Current members of Active Member cooperatives
- Current staff of Active Member cooperatives
- Financial experience
- Canadian cooperative members/staff
- Governance skills
- Fundraising experience
- Secretarial skills
- People from marginalized backgrounds, including but not limited to, POC, Black people, folks with disabilities, working class folks, LGBTQIA+ folks, non citizens or undocumented folks, single parents, and women
- Firm commitment to antiracism and anti-oppression
Why run for the board?
- Play a key role in a bi-national organization that develops new cooperatives, manages common equity houses, and reaches thousands of cooperators in the U.S. and Canada with cooperative education
- Network with cooperators across North America
- Share your skills with a mission-driven organization
With roots in the women's movement of the late 1800s, group equity co-ops have continued against the odds for almost 150 years, finding ways to create both affordable housing and community across North America.
Group equity co-ops are solidly rooted in the Chicago area, first rising as a practical solution to the very real needs of nineteenth-century single women. But this self-help approach eventually became an important option for anyone with financial need.
"We'll do it ourselves" became a particularly strong rallying cry during the Great Depression, when out of desperate necessity, students and others found ways to independently meet their housing and dining needs through group action. With grit and sheer determination, co-ops found ways to purchase and even build houses, harnessing both entrepreneurial skills and idealistic beliefs to begin expansion-oriented, scattered site systems from California and British Columbia to Halifax and Florida.
On Saturday, November 9, 2019 at NASCO Institute in Austin, TX, three individual cooperators and one group of cooperators were honored as inductees in the NASCO Hall of Fame. The NASCO Hall of Fame, created in 1989, provides broader recognition to individuals who have made a truly significant impact within the cooperative movement. The 2019 Inductees are:
Hello! We're a couple of long-time co-opers who decided that it would be fun to develop a board game about cooperative living. And it's finally finished! INTRODUCING: "Co-op"!
This project's inception dates to an animated and shamefully nerdy conversation, that took place while carpooling back from the NASCO meeting in Ann Arbor a few years ago. It turned out that a weekend of non-stop dialogue about cooperatives wasn't enough, and someone had to ask the dangerous question "what if there was a board game about co-ops?" in a crowded vehicle. It's been a blast to actually make the game and to playtest it with our friends.
Are you excited about the cooperative movement and eager to participate in the world of cooperatives beyond your home cooperative?
Do you have experience with board governance, grassroots fundraising, meeting facilitation, co-op management, or committee leadership?
Do you want to be part of a bi-national organization that develops new cooperatives, manages common equity houses, and reaches thousands of cooperators in the U.S. and Canada with cooperative education?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should consider running for the NASCO Board of Directors!
We are searching for a cooperative artist to create the art for NASCO Institute 2019. This year's theme is Cooperate Locally.
The chosen artist's work will be featured on posters, shirts, the program, banner and more. We’re expecting the artist we choose to work through concepts and designs with the NASCO team and deliver on a specific timeline. The chosen artist will be provided a $300 stipend.
If you are interested, send some info about yourself and examples of your previous work (links to your portfolio, etc.) to firstname.lastname@example.org by July 1, 2019.
Check out the artwork from previous NASCO Institute's here to get inspired!