Rise Economy’s Action and Advocacy Colloquium series facilitated in-person strategizing and connecting among members

By Madison D’Ornellas,
Digital Communications Associate

Every day up and down California, Rise Economy members are helping shape their communities. Twice this month — first in Oakland on Wednesday, Aug. 9 and then in Los Angeles on Wednesday, Aug. 16 — dozens of them gathered for an afternoon of cross-disciplinary collaboration for Rise Economy’s Action and Advocacy Colloquium series. 

The in-person, members’-only meetings serve as an opportunity for housing counseling agencies, fair housing groups, affordable housing developers, tenants’ rights advocates, civic leaders and banking experts to come together to discuss, network and reimagine ways to remove long-standing barriers faced by Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) and low-to-moderate income communities.

“At Rise Economy, we’re striving to build a society where BIPOC have access to resources and opportunities to build generational wealth. Our members are vital to achieving that mission – they’re our backbone,” said Rise Economy CEO Paulina Gonzalez-Brito. “We have a responsibility to them, not only to uplift their work but to work arm-in-arm to generate the strongest possible platform to create and implement systematic change for an equitable economy. So these meetings represent an opportunity to collect feedback, share ideas and strategize through radical collaboration.”

This year, the meetings revolved around developing a state companion to the federal civil rights era anti-redlining legislation, the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). Passed in 1977, the law intersects with multiple issue areas for Rise Economy and its members, including affordable housing finance to broader economic justice and consumer protections. Attendees participated in break-out discussions and workshops facilitated by Rise Economy organizers Aliyah Shaheed and Doni Tadesse. 

“The CRA is a law that is critical to the health of our communities. It’s a law that Rise Economy, alongside our members, have fought tooth and nail to protect,” Tadesse said after the meeting. “The work we do in these meetings will position us to have greater impact through a California-specific law that brings our state regulation on par with industry needs.”  

As a precursor to the colloquiums, Rise Economy held a webinar on Aug. 2 with CRA experts from New York, Illinois and Massachusetts where stronger CRA protections have been put in place to protect low-income residents and incentivize more equitable investments, which Tadesse said was “a vision we share for California communities.”

Jillian Spindle, Rise Economy Board Member and Chief Operating Officer at the Mission Economic Development Agency, a longstanding Rise Economy member organization, said that “these meetings help connect our local work to state policy.”

Generally, a Rise Economy membership includes access to a statewide network of peer organizations, exclusive updates and analysis on banking practices, regulatory issues and legislation, and innovative programs like the Resilience Fund that aim to stabilize the economic well-being of the communities that member organizations serve.