Jay Cumberland

  • Hosted by The Sustainable Economies Law Center
  • Sponsored by eBay Foundation
  • Service location Oakland, California
  • Law school University of California, Berkeley, School of Law
  • Issue area Community/Economic Development
  • Fellowship class year 2019
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Jay will cultivate community well-being by helping working-class communities of color in the Bay Area anchor themselves against displacement by collectively purchasing their workplaces and dwelling places.

Gentrification tears apart the social determinants of health in a place. It is a public health crisis for the Bay Area’s working-class communities of color. In the last 20 years, gentrification displaced an alarming percentage of the Bay Area’s black communities to areas with fewer health-promoting resources. In the disrupted places left behind, gentrification is intensifying and the black mortality rate is rising.

Working-class communities of color are increasingly striving to anchor themselves against displacement by collectively buying their workplaces and dwelling places as they go up for sale. Not enough legal service providers skilled at facilitating conversions exist to match the growing demand for cooperative conversions. Moreover, workers and tenants are often notified of a sale too late, making conversions infeasible.

Fellowship Plans

Jay’s project will build the capacity of service providers to facilitate cooperative conversions, increase proactive planning by workers, tenants, and owners for cooperative conversions, and develop new legal strategies to make cooperative conversions more feasible for working-class workers and tenants.

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James Eldridge

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Miessha Thomas

Host: Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund

Sponsor: Equal Justice Works