Panel Discussion – Frontline Leadership to Transform the World

In this moment of unraveling, a new generation of Black, Indigenous, Latinx and other people of color leaders are generating creative strategic innovations and interventions to combat extractive economic systems and usher in a Just Transition to a new civilization. In this panel, key figures from some of the most dynamic frontline organizations at the forefront of this movement—Climate Justice Alliance, Movement Generation, and New Economy Coalition—share stories and practices. They discuss how they are working to: cultivate local, loving, living, linked communities; democratize the economy (#WealthBack); restore sovereignty (#LandBack); localize control of wealth (#Reinvest); and restore social and ecological well-being ( #JustTransition).

Hosted by Natalia Linares, New Economy Coalition. With: Michelle Mascarenhas-Swan, Movement Generation; Doria Robinson, Cooperation Richmond & Urban Tilth; Najari Smith, Cooperation Richmond & Rich City Rides.


Panelists

Doria Robinson, a 3rd-generation resident of Richmond, California and Executive Director of Urban Tilth, is a co-founder of Cooperation Richmond, a worker-owned cooperative developer and local loan fund. Doria previously worked: on organic farms in Massachusetts; at Veritable Vegetable, a women-owned organic produce distribution company; at Real Food Company; and at Mixed Nuts Food Co-op. A Certified Permaculture Designer, she also led the development of Urban Tilth’s 3-acre urban farm in Richmond and the Farm-to-Table CSA social entrepreneurial venture that now serves 440 West County families each week.

Najari Smith, Richmond, CA-based founder and Executive Director of Rich City Rides, former chair and still member of the Richmond Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee, has worked tirelessly to improve bike infrastructure and to use bicycles to unite neighborhoods and communities throughout the Bay Area, including by creating the biggest bicycle celebrations in Richmond’s history.

Michelle Mascarenhas-Swan, a member of the Movement Generation (MG) staff collective who has been on its planning committee since 2008, has worked for the last 25 years building movement vehicles for frontline communities. Prior to her work at MG, she co-led the Center for Food and Justice, the National Farm to School Initiative, Rooted in Community, and the School of Unity and Liberation. Michelle was also a founding co-chair of the Climate Justice Alliance and the Our Power Campaign and was recently named an Ashoka Fellow (2017-2020).

Natalia Linares, Communications Organizer at the New Economy Coalition, has over a decade of experience as a cultural organizer, artist advocate, and publicist working to amplify voices from traditionally underrepresented communities. In 2010 Natalia founded Conrazón, an agency for artists and creators invested in new paradigms of heart-centered economic justice in the performing arts and media.

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