Welcome Libbie Cohn, Mekyah Davis, David Ferris, Yuki Kidokoro, Mike Strode, and Stacey Sutton to the NEC board!! We could not be more grateful and overjoyed to bring the wisdom of these brilliant organizers into the leadership of our network. The six of them were elected by NEC members through a participatory elections process. It was a beautiful experiment in digital democracy and we thank all of the candidates for the time and care they put into the process!
She/Her Center for Economic Democracy* (NEC Member Organization) Northern New Jersey Hey there! I’m Libbie (she/her), writing to you from outside NYC in northern NJ. For those of you I haven’t met, I’m mixed race (Chinese-Ashkenazi Jew), was raised in Hong Kong, and immigrated to the US with my mom when I was eight. I’m a big lover of jazz and hip hop, stand-up comedy, walking in forests, and other practices that help us connect more deeply with ourselves, each other and Mother Earth. I currently work with the Center for Economic Democracy, based in Boston, to tell multimedia stories about community self-determination and democratic governance, and to build movement capacity and narrative power in support of racial and economic justice. Before joining CED, I was part of the team that launched the Boston Ujima Project and helped to develop Ujima’s early neighborhood assembly process. Previously, I worked with low-income immigrants as a bilingual paralegal and researched environmental and social impacts of mega-real estate projects in Southeast Asia. I also directed several documentary films that build connections across language and cultural difference. I have a certificate in regenerative ecological landscape design from the Ecosa Institute, and a masters in urban planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
He/Him The STAY Project (Stay Together Appalachian Youth) Big Stone Gap, VA Mekyah Davis is a 25 year old community organizer, a Co-Coordinator with The STAY Project, and founding member of the Black Appalachian Young and Rising Program. He is a young freedom fighter who enjoys reading, gardening, and spending precious time with his family and friends. He resides in his hometown of Big Stone Gap, VA.
They/them Highlander Research & Education Center* (NEC Member Organization) Stone Mountain, GA David Ferris is a white Southern queer facilitator, organizer, strategist, cocounselor, and singer who lives with their parents in Stone Mountain, GA. David stewards the Highlander Center’s Economics and Governance program with April Taylor, focusing on organizing and leadership training with nascent SE Southern organizations, building the SE in the South network, and developing curriculum for in person and virtual popular education workshops, Mapping Our Futures, and trainings of trainers. They participate in regional, national and international formations working to support local movement and efforts to transform society to a solidarity economy and build more just, democratic, and sustainable communities. As a member of the US Solidarity Economy Network board, David has supported Solidarity Economy 101 workshops and curriculum and organized the first three Resist & Build convenings among national and translocal SE movement partners (continues quarterly). David was introduced to Highlander through the 2010 Threads Leadership and Organizing School for Economic Justice while organizing with a food justice school and social enterprise. They have been incorporating popular education methods and tools ever since to support community organizing and leadership development. They bring experience with strategic planning, community development, board governance, conference planning, fundraising, grant and microgrant programs, and grassroots accompaniment.
She/her Climate Justice Alliance & LA Co-op Lab* (NEC Member Organization) Los Angeles, CA Yuki Kidokoro is CJA’s Reinvest Project Director. After graduate studies in Urban Planning at UCLA, Yuki spent 15 years at Communities for a Better Environment as a Youth Organizer, Lead Organizer and Southern California Program Director. At CBE, Yuki developed their youth program and was active in many successful grassroots campaigns. Some of these victories include stopping two fossil fuel power plant projects in Southeast LA, delaying the expansion of the I-710 diesel truck corridor to allow for public process, and winning health protective policies at the city, regional and state levels. Raised in Southern California, Yuki helped create a 45 unit affordable housing cooperative at the Los Angeles Eco-Village in Koreatown where she lives with her partner and 2 cats. She currently serves on the Boards of the Beverly-Vermont Community Land Trust and the USTU Housing Cooperative, and is a collective member of the LA Coop Lab. Trained in conflict mediation and group facilitation, Yuki enjoys biking, gardening, board games and thinking about community governance structures.
Mike Tekh Strode
He/Him Kola Nut Collaborative* (NEC Member Organization) Chicago, IL Mike Strode is a writer, urban cyclist, facilitator, and solidarity economy organizer with the Kola Nut Collaborative residing in southeast Chicago. The Kola Nut Collaborative is Chicago’s only time-based service and skills exchange (otherwise known as a timebank) providing an open platform for mutual aid, community organizing, and network weaving. His grounding philosophy is mycelium, collaborative agility, empathic individualization, and all things human glue. Prior to launching the Collaborative, he worked with Black Oaks Center for Sustainable Renewable Living to develop the Healthy Food Hub, a food sovereignty initiative which connects farmers in the historically Black farming community of Pembroke Township to food insecure communities throughout Chicago. The most recent initiative of the Collaborative is an effort to develop a network of Chicago-based facilitators trained in a method known as the Offers and Needs Market in order to embed this resource sharing practice within local organizations. He is a Program Manager at Open Collective Foundation and serves on the boards of the US Solidarity Economy Network, South Deering Manor Community Association, and Dill Pickle Food Co-op.
She/They University of Illinois Chicago / Partners for Abolition, Transformation, Healing and Solidarity (PATHS) Chicago, IL Stacey is a scholar-activist and activist-scholar committed to racial and economic justice. She is currently an Associate Professor of Urban Planning and Policy at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC), the Director of Applied Research and Strategic Partnerships for UIC’s Social Justice Initiative (SJI), and she serves on the leadership team of PATHS (Partners for Abolition, Transformation, Healing and Solidarity), a Black-led movement-building collaborative in Chicago. Stacey is grounded in a Black radical feminist anti-capitalist tradition while reared in Pan-Africanist liberatory struggles. Stacey’s research, teaching, and activism/advocacy converge around her principle aim to advance radical imaginations, strategic opportunities for realizing wider margins of justice for Black, indigenous, working-class, and other marginalized communities. Stacey’s scholarship and praxis has a twofold purpose: first, to promote “cooperative cities,” meaning economic democracy and worker-owned cooperatives, solidarity economy ecosystems, anti-gentrification and displacement, grassroots community planning, and self-determined liberatory zones. Second, to critique and provide empirical evidence for disrupting “punitive cities,” including disparate effects of place-based policies; enforcement of regressive fines & fees and mundane land-use and zoning rules; and market-based solutions to trenchant social and economic inequities. Stacey is a native Brooklynite living, laboring, and building in Chicago since 2016, and forever craving the Caribbean.