Rest In Power, Elandria Williams

Photo Credit: New Economy Coalition

The cooperative community has lost a tremendous spirit this week with the passing of Elandria Williams, a visionary agitator and unparalleled educator. Elandria was an immense force within the new economy space - a huge, joyous spirit and a powerful organizer who served in so many capacities -- from the Highlander Center, to the PeoplesHub, to the founding board of The Democracy at Work Institute. 

We are forever grateful for Elandria’s contributions to the worker co-op movement; some of the best parts of DAWI’s organizational DNA would not have taken shape without them. Their poetic power and no-nonsense commitment to building people power have been woven deep into the fabric of both the USFWC and DAWI, and their influence will continue to be felt for decades to come. 

#ElandriaTaughtUs to resist, to be resilient and to be restored while also re-imagining a world beyond the oppressive systems we live in. They also recognized that the work of justice is hard and can be detrimental to our health unless we cultivate cultures of care and restoration. 

We will all remember what Elandria did to varying degrees, but most of all, in the words of Maya Angelou, we will never forget how they made people feel. Elandria made us feel like we should and could be our biggest, best selves, a part of a beautiful human family committed to justice and joy in equal parts.  

As we grieve together as a community, we remember Elandria’s powerful words: 

What is lifting up my spirit is holding that I am unbound. What is lifting up my spirit is that I will break the chains. What is lifting up my spirit is that I am deserving of a 100% radical love, care and worthiness. And I will accept nothing less.

We Are Worthy
By Elandria Williams

We are worthy
Not because of what we produce
But because of who we are
We are divine bodies of light and darkness
You are not worthy because of what you offer, 
not because of what is in your mind, not for the support you give others, 
not for what you give at all
We are worthy and are whole just because
In this great turning, in this great pandemic, 
in this radical readjustment and alignment
We are not disposable, we are needed, we are the 
very people that have withstood everything that has been thrown at us as a people 
and as Maya Angelou would say
Still I Rise
We arise from the pain
We rise from the grief
We arise from the limits people place on us and 
the limits we place on ourselves
We rise to be the children and the ancestors
We rise to be our true selves
Our true selves in relationship to our families 
and communities
Recognizing our liberating and whole selves
Honoring them and others as we strive for 
abundant communities, abundant lives, abundant
relationships, and 
values and cultural manifestations
We are worthiness personified
I, you, and we are worthy and deserve a life 
where we are not always fighting for our existence
Imagine what we could create if we were not always in the struggle
Imagine what we could envision if we could just be let to just go there
So tired of always having to resist, to fight, demanding, pushing
To everyone that has the courage, the power, the 
ability to co-create what we want and need
while rooting in what we can’t lose and who we are
You are the visionary
You are the hope
You are our ancestors dreams
No you might not ever end up on some list somewhere
But you are on a list in someone’s heart and mind
And if it’s in how you move in the world so people can see by example
You are the embodiment of what we need
Thanks to all that are the embodiment
The embodiment not of productivity but 
the embodiment of radical love, care and sanctuary
It’s time
Embodiment time
Living ones values out loud
Let me everyday live my values out loud
Let us everyday live our values out loud
Embodying our values
Not the productivity quotient
Beyond productivity
Past productivity
True embodiment