This week, hundreds of people will gather in Buffalo, a center of cutting-edge community activism, and the host of the New Economy Coalition’s bi-annual conference, CommonBound 2016. Leaders from across the United States, Canada, and elsewhere will converge at Buffalo State College, to discuss strategies for building an economy that puts people and planet first.
NEC is partnering on the conference with the Buffalo-based Crossroads Collective, comprised of PUSH Buffalo, Open Buffalo, Partnership for the Public Good, the Massachusetts Avenue Project, the WASH Project, Coalition for Economic Justice, the Public Accountability Initiative and, the Ujima Company.
“Buffalo stands at a pivotal point in its history,” said Franchelle Hart, Executive Director of Open Buffalo and a member of the CommonBound host committee. “While cranes are in the air, and more investors are expanding their portfolios here, thousands of Buffalo families still have no part in this city’s economic renaissance. The massive knowledge exchange that will take place over the three-day CommonBound conference will have a lasting impact on our efforts to create a more inclusive and sustainable ‘new economy’ in Buffalo.”
Topics to be discussed through 16 workshop tracks include the rise of the “on-demand economy,” through companies like Uber and TaskRabbit, and policy changes emergent from the Black Lives Matter movement. Buffalo was NEC’s first choice among several cities, selected for the work of groups like the Massachusetts Avenue Project and PUSH Buffalo on community-led economic development and renewable energy. Tours through Buffalo, hosted by local organizers, will let participants see this work first-hand.
Jonathan Rosenthal, NEC’s Executive Director, sees the gathering as especially important in light of the election year. “This November, voters will choose between just two candidates. Spaces like CommonBound are meant to show that there are many alternatives to the way our economy and society work, and that people in some of society’s most marginalized communities are already implementing solutions that likely won’t appear on any ballot.”
While NEC has played a central role in organizing the conference, much of CommonBound’s programming is being driven by NEC’s member organizations, with 16 tracks of several workshops each, proposed and designed by groups working across a range of issues.
Registration for CommonBound is now open, with discounts and scholarships available to Buffalo residents.