Ready to R3think Everything?
The Berkshire Black Economic Council Presents
Creating a Framework for Black Economic Empowerment in the Berkshires
The Domain Reports broken into 5 major sections.
Generate a leadership culture of collaboration, founded in diversity, equity, and solidarity, that can dynamically respond to challenges by swiftly building coalitions between all community stakeholders.
Develop the systems and infrastructure to support the development of leaders throughout the community. They know how to define a vision and develop the processes, strategy, and teams to achieve the vision.
Neighborhood Leadership Program in Urban Areas – Pittsfield Morning Side and Westside – North Adams
Black Community Based Leadership Accelerator Program -Community Empowerment Platform -Visioning/Purpose/Governance/Cooperation/Process/Implementation
White Berkshire County Leadership Accelerator Program -Inclusive Economy Leadership Think Tank -Visioning/Purpose/Governance/Cooperation/Process/Implementation
“You cannot build what you can’t see or imagine.”
We must answer the question of what an inclusive, safe, and thriving Berkshire Black Community looks like;
Historically, there was never a clear, communicable vision for ourselves and our communities.
For what an Inclusive Economy in the Berkshires looks like:
“So far behind in the race, that any perceived progress makes you think you are winning”
In many cases not all white leaders tend to navigate systemic racism one step at a time, most often looking to Black leaders to inform their every decision, offloading their responsibility in coming up with an appropriate, long term, and/or innovative response to :
An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity. ~Martin Luther King, Jr
Lack of Diversity and Inclusion in the Leadership Circles in integral areas of the community domain such as government, quasi-government organizations, non-profit, corporate, and media.
Especially at the decision-making level of Boards and higher-end executive management. This challenge to credible and effective diverse representation is the main cause of the gap in providing for and allocating to, the prescriptive strategies and resources to effect impactful change. Without addressing the lack of Diversity and Inclusion in seats of decision making power the reality of a more Inclusive economy that supports a prosperous African American and Black community is out of reach.
“Any time it looks like we are being successful, that’s when we run into barriers from outside parties and many forms of racism.”
Within local leadership circles, white leaders continue to navigate systemic racism one step at a time, most often looking to Black leaders to inform their every decision and offloading their responsibility in coming up with an appropriate response to Black folks.
The COVID-19 pandemic, although incredibly challenging to our society, has provided a critical opportunity–a policy window–of heightened “awareness and consciousness.”
At home in quarantine, removed from the rush of the rat race, white Americans allowed themselves just a peek at the daily trials and tribulations Black folk endure. Broadcast across all media platforms were the wanton violences and acts of domestic terrorism waylaying Black Americans going about their lives. George Floyd was executed outside of a gas station. Breonna Taylor, asleep in her bed. Ahmaud Arber, out for a jog. And we must not to forget the disparate impact the pandemic is raging against Black Americans–one in every 2,000 have perished from Covid-19.
However, we are in a unique position to “R3think Everything and R3Set ourselves” to a better future. As Maya Angleou saids. “When you know better you do better.” We must do better. Fortunately, all the answers and solutions lie in the time, talent and resources within this very community.
Moreover, the onset of social innovation platforms such as R3SET Enterprises, new ideas in social governance like Holacracy, and innovative distributive technologies such as blockchain and Halochain, are leading the way. Creating more opportunities to realize a more equitable, collaborative society. Our collective creativity can utilize the power of scale.
(Visual Diagram: in the center of a group of circles, with the labels of “Visioning”, “Governance” “Purpose”, “Policy”, “Cooperation”, “Process” and “Implementation”, is “Collaborative Black Economic Success”)
The Inclusive Economy Think Tank
The Next Steps
Set up recurring meetings with community stakeholders
Black Community/Economic Empowerment Leadership Accelerator:
A community-owned and informed online/offline platform devoted to community development and “leadership education”. That is guided by the values and interests of the community and serves as a forum for community members to easily connect. Thereby encouraging collaboration between organizations and community stakeholders to solve issues faced by the community.
In conjunction with the development of the Blackshires Community Empowerment Platform and Black Economic Success Agenda: further Dismantling the barriers to recruiting and retaining peoples of the African Diaspora to Berkshire County by increasing connection to regional cities, black organizations, and institutions, developing a supportive professional culture that values diversity, building on current diversity pipeline initiatives and establishing more in different sectors, investing in the skill development of our region’s youth and establishing career opportunities that entice them to stay, architecture–public infrastructure and landscape design– that promotes community, is free from surveillance and offers the freedom to express our Blacknesses.
Dubois Thomas, Habitat for Humanity
Kamaar Taliaferro, R3SET
Alyssa Mack, SP3AK EASY Studio
Kamaar Taliaferro, R3SET
John Lewis, R3SET
Kamaar Taliaferro, R3SET
Patrick Danahey, R3SET
Devin Shea, R3SET
Segun Idawoo, BECMA
Malia Lazu, MIT
The 2020 Berkshire County SUCC3SS Idea Jam was a community event series designed to create a holistic, collaborative framework for a successful ecosystem for Berkshire Black businesses, community members, and the Berkshire County community at large.
The community came together using an Idea Jam methodology to est a vision of establishing the Berkshires as a model for Black Economic empowerment for counties across the North East.
The jams were held at the beginning of COVID-19, after transitioning the series from an in-person experience.