Racial Equity Community Innovators Lab (RECoI Lab) is a five year initiative focused on developing and scaling new sustainable and future-focused models for place-based organizing in our increasingly technological world. We believe local and placed-based power-building provides an important pathway to systemic change, community economic empowerment, building up of working-class agency, and fostering essential social capital in Black and Brown communities. But their long-term sustainable impact will rely on field infrastructure to support increasing capacity along a few fronts: building bridges between traditional local and placed-based organizations and those utilizing technology-enabled communities/tools/platforms to build power, exploration of independent revenue streams and mission-aligned capital, and becoming more future-focused in order to stay ahead of curve of the implications of technology and digital economy.
To this end, our work is centered around:
Fostering, a deeper economic framework that helps “connects the dots” between structural racism in the political and social realms with the structural economic drivers;
Bridging generational gaps and bringing together past, present, and next gen Black and Brown leaders to reimagine placed-based organizing in the 21st century;
Integrating a technology lens to develop power-building models and bolder strategies that can address racism’s historical systemic roots (eg. power, ownership, and capital) and mitigate the ways that technology and the global digital economy can accelerate and deepen these trends;
Breaking down barriers and experimenting with capital market strategies (eg. independent revenue generation streams, mission-aligned private capital, alternative ownership models, etc) to increase sustainability in the long term
We are currently incubating two projects:
Building Resilient Rural Enterprises for Sustainable Livelihoods (Johannesburg, South Africa)
Keeping our Communities Organized Institute (Chicago, Illinois)
Growing and increasing impact of Global Public Interest Technology Pipeline and Community: A project of Mozilla, Ford Foundation, and Media Democracy Fund (MDF). Exploring the potential for meaningful and actionable commodority, community, and strategic partnerships between public interest technologists around the world.
Playbook for building ethical/responsible technology companies, with the end goal of fostering an ecosystem of founders, startup executives, technologists, VCs, and academics to help accelerate the shift away from short-term, shareholder-driven capitalism: Exploring strategies for accelerating the mainstream adoption of responsible company-building practices in technology-driven organizations.
Building capacity in the labor organizing and movement spaces: Supporting workers, unemployed workers, labor unions, and labor organizing spaces develop new strategies for building voice and power in order to support a more equitable and inclusive 21st Century economy.