Economic Sovereignty

Within Philadelphia Assembled, sovereignty is not understood by one single definition, instead, a collective representation of the term is revealed through layered questions about autonomy, equity, and freedom. Through these questions, the Sovereignty atmosphere seeks to address the specific concepts of land and the alternative marketplace as each relates to histories of self-determination, the preservation of community wisdom, and new forms of cultural exchange. These ideas are being explored from within a context of, what author bell hooks terms, "communities of resistance," spaces that "can emerge around our struggles for personal self-recovery as well as our efforts to organize collectively."

The Sovereignty working group explored the concepts of the marketplace and cultural exchange as they relate to histories of self-determination and the preservation of community wisdom. PHLA partnered with various businesses along the 52nd Street corridor in West Philadelphia to offer spaces for creating unity and cultivating economic sovereignty. One of these businesses was the African Cultural Art Forum. Established in 1969, ACAF is a community-based organization that manufactures and sells products by entrepreneurs throughout the African diaspora. Throughout the spring, ACAF hosted skill trainings and exchanges in preparation for a large public “Sovereignty Marketplace” in June 2017.