Thank you to all who joined us virtually for the 2021 Annual Owner Meeting. Seward Co-op’s 50th annual owner meeting was held on Oct. 26, 2021. The event included Minneapolis-based vocal artist Van Nixon (he/him), the results of the board of directors’ election, and an announcement of all grant recipients for 2022 (SEED, Seward Community Fund, and People Powered Perks). We are grateful for the inspiration delivered by keynote speaker, Dr. Jessica Gordon Nembhard (she/her), Professor of Community Justice and Social Economic Development in the Department of Africana Studies at John Jay College, City University of New York, and author of “Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice.”
Dr. Gordon Nembhard joined Seward Co-op Board of Directors President, LaDonna Sanders Redmond (she/they/iya), in conversation about how co-ops can be a manifestation of abolition. Cooperative values and principles guide our work, and at this year’s annual meeting, we examined the history of the cooperative movement and how it has guided humanity long before capitalist structures came to be. When individuals and groups are marginalized by the larger society, cooperation can be an act of liberation and a tool for justice. We encourage co-op owners and community members to reflect on how cooperation can continue to dismantle harmful structures and how co-ops are a tool for the abolition of oppression.
Mutuality, cooperation, and solidarity are all universal principles. Dr. Gordon Nembhard shared how a history of solidarity practices kept pre-capitalistic societies working smoothly, and how today we continually practice solidarity by offering ride shares, bartering, banking at credit unions, and shopping at cooperatively-owned businesses. Through economic solidarity, we are creating an antidote to an individualistic and capitalistic society. African American communities have lived experience using economic solidarity and cooperative structure as a means to address and find solutions for discrimination and inequality, and Dr. Gordon Nembhard demonstrated there are cooperative solutions to economic challenges. She drew a clear parallel between the long and ongoing civil rights movement and the cooperative movement.
Following the keynote presentation, Jessica and LaDonna had a conversation and took questions from attendees about her book and how to engage deeper with abolition and community-driven economic solutions. We invite you to watch the recording of the 2021 annual meeting below to dive deeper into these important insights and reflect on ways to incorporate more cooperation into our daily lives!
Board of Directors Election Results
An integral piece of the annual meeting is the announcement of the board of directors election results. Congratulations to Cassandra Meyer, Sally Nixon, and Kate Seybold! These incumbents were all re-elected to three-year terms. Together with current directors, these co-op owners are responsible for articulating the vision and goals for Seward Co-op that management pursues and achieves. The 2022 election featured a large pool of highly qualified candidates. Thank you to all who ran, and all who voted.
2021 Scorecard/Annual Report
During the annual meeting, the 2021 Scorecard was made available. A digital Scorecard/Annual Report can be viewed here. We invite you to scroll through to read more details on how Seward Co-op has met our Ends Statement, or mission. To obtain a print version of the 2021 Scorecard/Annual Report, please submit a request through our customer comment tool.
2022 SEED Recipients and Community Choice Results
At the annual meeting, we also announced the 2022 SEED recipients selected by a staff-led committee, our People Powered Perks recipient, and the result of the Community Choice vote. This year’s People Powered Perks grant recipient is Full Cycle Bike Shop.
Through a Community Choice vote, Seward Co-op owners and customers are invited annually to select four of twelve 2022 SEED recipients. All SEED Community Choice finalists receive a $1,000 grant through the Seward Community Fund. The four organizations selected as 2022 SEED Community Choice recipients are: Dream of Wild Health, Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop, Hmong American Farmers Association (HAFA), and Tamales y Bicicletas.
View the complete 2022 SEED recipient calendar. Thank you to all those community members who voted!
Special thanks to the co-op’s Marketing and Equity and Community Engagement staff, and the board members on our Community Engagement Committee who collaborated on the night’s planning and programming. We also extend gratitude to National Cooperative Business Association for providing technical support with Zoom and Tilde Language Justice Cooperative for providing Spanish interpretation. A big KUDOS to our staff and board presenters and Dr. Jessica Gordon Nembhard for being there as we explore the co-op’s role in the broader movement for abolition and liberation. We appreciate Van Nixon for sharing his musical talents throughout the evening as well. Finally, thanks to all Seward Co-op owners, your contributions to these discussions are sincerely and graciously appreciated.
Engage with the programming, watch a recording of the 50th Annual Owner Meeting
y en espanol