Boston Communities Unite to Democratize Their Economy

“I like the idea of changing the capitalistic way of doing things now, getting our own power, funding businesses out of our own pool of resources,” says Perry, who works at City Life Vida Urbana, a housing justice organization in Boston. “I’m an optimist. I think things can change. I think in order to do it you have to be proactive. So I’m for it and I’m willing to take the steps to help it move.”

The gathering was the founding general assembly of the Boston Ujima Project, a democratically governed organization with a mission to build a community-controlled economy in Boston’s working-class communities of color. The assembly was the culmination of several years of community organizing with a wide array of housing justice groups, civil rights groups, local unions, investors and others. Ujima (oo-JEE-mah) is a Swahili word, and one of the principles celebrated in the festival of Kwanzaa. It means “collective work and responsibility.”

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