Spring 2021 Update
Twin Cities Co-op Partners supports the Black Lives Matter movement and believes that work needs to be done to dismantle a racist system that has led to repeated violence against the Black community
Last July, TCCP released its anti-racism journey statement outlining goals and initial plans to become a proactively anti-racist organization. In the statement, we acknowledged a process that starts with listening and learning, and ultimately, one that will result in actions and not just words. We are committed to continuing this important work. To remain transparent, we will share updates during this humbling journey. Below summarizes our first eight months.
In recognition of the importance of the work we need to do around Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), we hired our first-ever DEI Manager: Michael Hodges. Michael brings great experience and perspective to the organization through his work at Carleton College and Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) in helping create more inclusive and equitable communities. Michael is working closely with management and the rest of the organization to help assist our efforts in this important work. Learn more about Michael on page 4.
We acknowledge there is a lot of work to do to better reflect the diversity across Minneapolis and increase the racial equity in our organization. Since the beginning of the fall, our hiring of people who identify as “non-white” has increased by 65 percent. And specifically, we have hired more Black employees—starting the year about 5 percent of our employee base was Black, and this year 16 percent of new hires are Black. We’re in the process of building a more consistent and transparent hiring process. Currently, we are restructuring our job postings to be more inclusive and consistent across each location. Application review, interview practices, hiring, onboarding, retention, reporting, training, and development are a part of our restructuring efforts. Human resources, along with our DEI manager and upper management, are all committed to constructing a better, more consistent, and inclusive hiring process that aids in recruiting and retaining a more diverse workforce.
Along with employing a more diverse staff, we have increased our partnerships with local vendors that better reflect our diverse community. Since the beginning of the fiscal year (July 2020) we have added 16 new products from companies that are BIPOC-owned. And specifically, within that, there are nine businesses that are Black owned. We are proud to be partnering with great, locally Black-owned businesses. Additionally, we are working to better showcase BIPOC-owned businesses in our stores to grow brand awareness and increase sales of products.
Staff Survey and Training:
Late last year, we completed our first-ever staff survey focused on DEI issues. It gave us a baseline to understand how staff perceive inclusion at TCCP today. We drew some valuable lessons about where we are doing well, where we have opportunities and what areas we need to focus on for improvement. These important lessons will be integrated into our staff training this spring. The training will focus on intervention, de-escalation, and engaging in challenging conversations and situations from a cultural-competency lens.
An important part of community building is creating connections and listening. That journey starts with meeting new people to build bridges in the community and to frankly listen to what needs are out there. Over the past few months, we have met with community organizations like Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church and Northpoint Health to better understand the gaps and specific areas lacking support so that TCCP can develop programs or services to meet the needs of the Black community. To date, there is a common understanding of injustices that exist in the local food system, which is an area on which we can focus on for future investment.
In our ongoing financial support related to community giving, our 2021 Change Matters register round-up program is focused on supporting organizations that serve BIPOC communities. By coordinating these donations from customers and re-investing in the community, we are working to address gaps in food access, job training, and community development in the underserved communities and empowering Black, Indigenous and communities of color. All proceeds from our Black Lives Matters signs go to the Du Nord Foundation, which has committed to rebuilding Black businesses impacted by last summer’s civil unrest. We are also exploring opportunities to increase our support of their Community Market, which offers online ordering and curbside pickup of free, culturally relevant groceries for people in need.
Finally, we are furthering education in the community around race issues through a virtual event series called “Co-op Community Conversations: Exploring the intersection of racial, social and food justice” in partnership with Seward Co-op, Mississippi Market, and Eastside Co-op. This four-part series started in February with the “Jim Crow of the North” documentary and discussion around the history of racial covenants for housing in Minneapolis.
While we are optimistic about our efforts and progress over the past eight months, we remain humble and focused. We will continue to work to better reflect the ideas, spirit, and stories of our beautiful, diverse community more fully into