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Jessica Gordon-Nembhard

Jessica Gordon Nembhard, Ph.D., is a political economist specializing in economic development policy, Black political economy, and popular economic literacy. Her research focuses on democratic community economics, cooperative businesses, worker ownership, and racial wealth inequality. Though a resident of Washington, DC, Gordon Nembhard currently teaches at John Jay College, City University of New York. Jessica has been an active member of ONE DC’s Right to Land and Housing campaigns, and the precursor Equitable Development for Shaw campaign with Manna CDC (ONE DC’s former name). She was one of the team that negotiated ONE DC’s Community Benefits Agreement with Broadcast One Partners for Parcels 33 and 42. In addition to her history with ONE DC and commitment to ONE DC’s mission and values, Jessica’s research focuses on community economic development, particularly economic justice and cooperative economic development. She is one of the only scholars in the U.S. documenting and analyzing how cooperatives benefit their communities, how they develop assets with their members, and the workings of democratic workplaces, particularly in worker cooperatives. She has been studying the education, training, orientation, and process of democratic participation of worker cooperatives for the past 10 years. Her efforts to guide and participate in ONE DC’s transition to shared leadership force her to reflect even more on her research and findings, and actually to live and practice some of the processes and strategies that she had previously studied and observed. She is able to bring knowledge to the group and learn more about these same practices and their challenges as she herself tries to explain them to her colleagues at ONE DC and put them into practice at ONE DC. Jessica Gordon Nembhard is also one of the foremost scholars of African American cooperatives. In spring 2014, Jessica Gordon Nembhard released Collective Courage: The History of African-American Economic Thought and Practice, a long-anticipated book on the history of African American Cooperatives and alternative economics. Her book has received wide acclaim and she is currently on book tour, discussing this under-examined history and how ONE DC continues the historical footsteps of collective enterprise and cooperative economics.