Our principles are an expanded version of the seven basic international principles for co-ops around the world.
1. Voluntary and Open Membership
Our cooperative is a voluntary organization, open to all people wanting to use our services, and willing to honor our grounding politics, uphold our principles, and accept the responsibilities of membership, without discrimination based on age, ability, gender, class, race, sexual orientation, or religion.
2. Self-Governing, Consensus-Guided Member Control
Our cooperative is a democratic organization controlled by our members who actively participate in making decisions. Everything is decided upon by the collective of learners, families, and workers, and prioritizes members as decision-makers. We uphold the practice of one member, one vote.
3. Members’ Economic Participation
We aim to create a culture of economic sustainability where those who have the capital will contribute more so that everyone who needs our services can partake, and where there is not the added expectation of being valued above other members. In order to facilitate both an accessible and sustainable co-operative learning space, we value in-kind labour and resources as well as monetary contributions. As such, members are entitled to the benefits of the cooperative in proportion to how much they contribute rather than how much capital or money they invest. For example, if a member contributes 2% of the work to the cooperative, they receive 2% of the surplus or profit.
4. Self-Determination and Independence
We are an autonomous, self-determining organization with power shared among members–learners, families, and workers. We are committed to creating a space where individual autonomy and the collective self-determination of everyone–especially children and youth–are fully respected. When we enter into agreements with other organizations or accept resources from external sources, we do so based on terms that ensure democratic control by our members and maintain our autonomy.
5. Education, Training, and Information
We educate and train our members and staff to contribute effectively to the development of our model of liberation. Members, therefore, have a responsibility to inform the general public about the nature and benefits of cooperatives and self-directed education as tools for liberation, and to proliferate the Anna Julia Cooper Learning & Liberation Center model.
6. Cooperation among Cooperatives
Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures. We prioritize cooperation with other communities to build alternative institutions and environments in resistance to current oppressive systems.
7. Holistic, Liberatory Learning & Growth
We are a multi-generational, decolonized community of comfort, care and intellectual engagement where learning opportunities abound. We see engagement with self and community, ancestral traditions, sustainable ways of living, technologies, and the world around us as foundational to learning and growth.
8. Sound Communal Practices
While focused on the needs of our learners, staff, and families, the cooperative works for the sustainable development of the community through policies and programs accepted by members. We do not remain confined to a single building or location; rather, we are intentionally and respectfully present throughout the community. We actively seek the input of neighbors and broader community members to develop accessible and responsive opportunities for learning. All are invited to join us, but none are compelled. Regardless of membership status or stage of development, we treat all community members with full dignity and respect.