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avatar for Terence Courtney

Terence Courtney

Federation of Southern Cooperatives
Director of Cooperative Development & Strategic Initiatives

Born and raised in Atlanta Georgia, Terence has been an advocate for equity for more than twenty years. He began this work with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) where he brought together African American, Latino, and Asian workers to improve wages and working conditions in Atlanta, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Terence led union campaigns in the public and private sectors and later was appointed to be the union’s State-wide Representative in Georgia.

Terence increased the scope of his organizing work when he became one of the founding members and first director of a coalition of labor unions, student groups, community groups and faith organizations called Atlanta Jobs with Justice (AJwJ). Later, he co-founded a community organization to meet the needs of an evolving human rights campaign in Atlanta’s public sector. Called the Atlanta Public Sector Alliance (APSA), significant victories were won in the struggle against neoliberal attacks on public life.

Expanding his movement-building work still further, the focus of his leadership grew from City-wide to Southern Region-wide. Terence became the Southeastern Regional Organizer for the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI). Creating committees and coalitions with US born and foreign born (immigrants) of African descent in the South, Terence facilitated a process whereby everyday working people were able to educate themselves and address pivotal issues concerning the intersections between immigrant rights and mass incarceration from a Black perspective. This experience refined his strategy for economic justice even further.  His new theory of change came to not only include workplace-based & community-based fights, but also struggles to democratize the economy itself - through Cooperatives Development.

Terence next developed human rights and cooperative development exploratory committees. One of which led to the formation of an organization called the Organization for Human Rights and Democracy (OHRD), where he served as a Founder and the Director of Organizing overseeing campaigns against school takeover and privatization. The other project became Cooperative Atlanta; a committee of diverse Atlantans assembled to study the Cooperative Development movement and strategize on how cooperatives may better serve grassroots communities. From this collective research, study and dialogue, Terence and the team began to grasp the real potential that Cooperatives had to offer. This work brought Terence and his colleagues into closer contact with the rich history and practical experiences of organizations like the Federation of Southern Cooperatives.

The outstanding and socially transformative role that the Federation of Southern Cooperatives has played in struggling for Cooperative Economic Development, Land Retention and Advocacy inspired Terence to continue his commitment to advancing economic justice by joining the ranks of the Federation. Currently Terence serves as the Director of Cooperative Development & Strategic Initiatives, where he supports the cooperative economic development of newly emerging cooperatives, while organizing with members to strengthen existing cooperatives.  He is fortunate to work with staff from across the US South to accomplish the goals and objectives of Federation members and the Cooperative movement at large.  

My Panelists Sessions

Thursday, September 24
 

2:00pm EDT