New Economy Movement Empowers Communities
This month, economic democracy conferences were held in both Jackson, MS and Baltimore, MD. The conferences focused on the structural causes of poverty, the failures of the current economic system and new systems that can be put in place to build wealth in communities. Th Baltimore conference, which we helped to organize, focused on building cooperatives, complementary currencies and alternative finance, participatory budgeting, land trusts, renewable energy and food security. Our guest Dorcas Gilmore attended both conferences and the other guest Lasana Mack is working on new systems in African-American communities of Washington, DC.
Relevant articles and websites:
Jackson Rises to Face New Challenges by Editors of Solidarity-US.org
Lasana Mack is the founder and Executive Director of APPEAL, Inc., which launched in Washington, DC in 2013, with a mission that targets people of African descent for economic empowerment and educational enrichment. In this position, he manages APPEAL’s conducting of workshops in financial literacy and historical & cultural literacy; its think tank that analyzes and addresses socio-economic issues; and its efforts to develop a credit union and on-line bank to facilitate economic empowerment for communities of people of African descent.
From 2005 to 2012, Mr. Mack served as City Treasurer of the District of Columbia (Washington, DC), a position that entailed managing billions of dollars, many employees and contracted professionals, and numerous business functions for the city. These functions included funds management, banking operations, and bond issuances to finance infrastructure development in the city. He has served in several other financial management positions over the course of his professional career. In addition, Mr. Mack has been a community activist and organizer for over 20 years, working with various community-based organizations. He has a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree from Howard University (Washington, DC) and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from the University of Rochester (Rochester, NY), majoring in Finance.
Dorcas Gilmore is Assistant General Counsel in the NAACP Legal Department where she represents the NAACP National Office and assists its over 1200 branches and units nationwide. In this role, she advances the NAACP’s racial justice advocacy mission on issues of economic justice and provides corporate counsel. Also, Ms. Gilmore serves as the Director of Community Economic Development in the NAACP Economic Department where she oversees efforts to promote the creation and growth of small businesses, individual wealth building primarily through matched savings accounts, and community asset building.
Ms. Gilmore has over 8 years of experience in the community economic development field. As a Skadden Fellow and Staff Attorney at the Community Law Center, Inc., she created the Youth Entrepreneurship Initiative providing a range of business and nonprofit legal services to youth-led organizations. Also, she directed the Small Business Legal Services Program & Youth Entrepreneurship Initiative and the Equitable Development Project. Ms. Gilmore has represented community organizations, social ventures, and coalitions seeking to promote racial and economic equity in their local communities and looks forward to leveraging these experiences and relationships to strengthen the economic fabrics of communities of color.
Ms. Gilmore earned her law degree from the University of Maryland School of Law. The 2004 Gilbert & Jaylee Mead Public Interest Scholar, Ms. Gilmore received numerous awards recognizing her commitment to service and the public interest, including the NAACP LDF’s Earl Warren Scholarship. Ms. Gilmore graduated magna cum laude from Rollins College with an Honors Bachelor of Arts.
Ms. Gilmore is a member of the Governing Committee of the ABA Forum on Affordable Housing and Community Development Law and a founding member of its Young Lawyers Network. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Women’s Law Center of Maryland. Ms. Gilmore is the author of several articles and book chapters on law and leadership, youth entrepreneurship legal services, and community lawyering.