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SHARE-WS Cooperative | June 2020
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THE SHARE CHRONICLE

OUR STORY
Monthly Edition  |  June 2020
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The Cutting Edge


This past month has served as a vital reminder of both the racial injustices impeding our society, and also the power that each of us holds to create radical, structural change. To that end, SHARE continues to highlight partner organizations engaged in the cutting edge work of openness, acceptance, and change. This month, we celebrate our friends at Love Out Loud!

Promoting Pathways for Change

You might recognize Love Out Loud from their annual Christmas for the City celebration, but they've also been philanthropic and equity-minded leaders in many other Winston-Salem issues for over a decade.

Their mission is to "connect servant-leaders, volunteers, and resources to release the radical love of Jesus in our city." So, what does this look like in practice? Love Out Loud's BASE connects volunteers to hundreds of nonprofits throughout Winston-Salem, and even if you're not sure where to serve, their PATHWAYS Program can direct you to an organization that aligns with your skills and interests.

During COVID-19, Love Out Loud has coordinated the effort to distribute over 75,000 masks to local citizens and has also led a movement by white pastors in the city to acknowledge their privilege, to stand in solidarity with people of color, and to listen to and learn from the voices and experiences of people of color.

Ultimately, Love Out Loud's efforts are keeping Winston-Salem's most vulnerable safe from the dangers of the pandemic, and are pushing us toward a more equitable and just future. We thank them for all that they do, and we're excited to further our partnership with them in the future!

 
      

Sowing the Seeds of Cooperation
For SHARE, June has been a month of action. Action for economic justice; action for food justice; and, ultimately, action for racial justice. The deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many other Black men and women are tragic reminders of the racism steeped into our nation. The reckoning that continues in the form of protests and marches is both necessary and long overdue.

In the United States, people of color experience food insecurity at twice the rate of the national average, and in Forsyth County, 38% of low-income residents—disproportionately Black and Hispanic populations—live in food deserts. This is a reminder that racism is not just what we say or how we act; it exists in elements as basic and ingrained as the way our food is distributed. Equally, this is a reminder that the need for SHARE's Harvest Market is greater than it ever has been. 

Food Justice is Social Justice

As our nation has built momentum for radical change, so too has SHARE. We have joined in local marches, we have called for police reform, and SHARE co-founder Willard Bass has formed a team to advocate for reparations in Winston-Salem. 

In this month alone, SHARE has applied for grants totaling over half a million dollars in funding, and we have been awarded over $120,000 from a combination of both local and national organizations. Our success in fundraising and grant writing is yet another sign that we are building momentum towards opening our store and building a movement for fresh, healthy, affordable food.

With the help of our recently elected Board, SHARE has also continued to expand our local partnerships, soliciting over $15,000 in donations from a variety of generous, caring individuals, and strengthening our team with nearly twenty additional volunteers. Perhaps most importantly, almost 400 Member-Owners have invested in our cooperative and are committed to the mission of our Harvest Market! We cannot thank you enough for your support. 

As we look ahead, SHARE will kick off its "Food Justice is Social Justice" fundraising campaign in July, and we will institute our online food sales and delivery service by the end of the summer. Let's continue to make this progress and this radical change together!

Your friends at,

SHARE Cooperative
Winston-Salem has a vibrant food culture; we at SHARE are committed to ensuring that this culture serves all of its residents equally.
"
 
The Reverend's Corner

AN OPEN LETTER
July 1, 2020

Dear Officials of the Local Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Governments:

The United States Constitution begins with the iconic phrase, "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution…”   Ratified some 232 years ago how did we get so far from these basic moral values…

On May 25, 2020, Minneapolis police officers arrested and executed George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, after an alleged petty crime. That incident has given rise to a round of national demonstrations that have symbolized the frustrations of “We-the-People” and the calls for change. In the last few weeks hundreds of thousands of people demonstrated against the police and the wrongs that seem to disproportionately afflict African Americans. The national debate over police violence towards black people and conversations surrounding the concept of defunding the police, are very complicated. But these discussions are necessary and long over-due.

Even here in Winston-Salem, where the protests/demonstrations have persisted for weeks (and yet have been peaceful and non-destructive), the overarching theme throughout has been a call for change.  It is impossible to deny that the shift has to involve eliminating the roots of Systemic racism - that which gives rise to unmitigated power and privilege.  Hasn’t Covid-19 has given us a moment of time-out to reflect, repent, and reconsider our ways?

Two weeks ago Oprah Winfrey hosted on television a conversation; a Full Episode: Where Do We Go From Here? At the end of Part 2, Oprah asked the sassy question; “What’s the Ask?”

Well, for nearly five years, locally here in Winston-Salem, SHARE has been working to open its first grocery store; in a food desert. Multiple studies and commissions have focused on the ills of food-insecurity.  Data shows that at least a quarter of our neighbors are food insecure; a problem SHARE seeks to change.  The planning for the grocery store has been vigorous; more than a Million dollars raised, 400 plus members recruited and signed-up, the market design finalized with local contractors ready to begin the build-out. Interestingly, the market’s opening is being delayed.  HOW you ask, “What’s the delay?”  Curiously, previously committed funds are being withheld until ALL of the funding is guaranteed. Go back to Oprah’s question; “What’s the Ask?”

Here it is: America has been caught in the cycle of systemic racism for much too long.  People are beginning to awaken into this reality.  Well-meaning people are frustrated by the affects, the outcomes, and the special policies which drive covert in-actions.  We-the-People want (demand) change.
  
SHARE has applied separately to the city and the county for the final-quarter of the funds to make the HARVEST MARKET a reality and to get it opened.  Those applications (for public funds) have suffered delays.  Without this local government funding assistance, our other funders won’t abide by their pledges. We-the-People want an allocation and commitment of public funding from both the Local Winston-Salem and Forsyth County Governments.

So as to be clear, Yes we want criminal justice reform; we want equity in the education of our young people; we want  equity in the allocation of capital investments needed for the renewal of our blighted neighborhoods; we want equity in the availability of health care; We want equity in the funding of community projects like SHARE.

What’s the economics of this investment? SHARE will provide healthy food access and food education.  SHARE’s HARVEST MARKET will create more than 30 new jobs. Nutritional food, and jobs create better health outcomes.

We-the-People seek justice for those who are food-insecure…. 

Sincerely,

Rev. Gary R. Williams
Co-founder

Jonah 3:8 (NRSV)

Interested in our Preferred Shares Program? Contact Ralph Peeples at peeplera@share-ws.org or (336) 283-3299! 
 
Visit us at 603 Peters Creek Parkway and follow us on social media! 
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SHARE Cooperative of Winston-Salem, NC
Our email address is:

info@Share-WS.coop
office: 336-283-3299
www.share-ws.coop 

 
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