Third World Co-op

Third World Co-op (TWC) is the only co-op that has a wall mural. It is also the only co-op that is a safe space and that regularly reaches out and supports communities of color, particularly when it comes to fostering community, providing meals to outside speakers/performers, building coalition and helping people develop a better sense of themselves.

We provide meals to a wide variety of speakers/performers of color who are brought by co-op members, we also put on our own programs in coalition with other organizations. Our programs have included a series of workshops with the Edmonia Lewis Center for Qwo-Li Driskill, a discussion and lecture with the Indigenous Women’s Series for Debra Harry.

TWC creates a space full of people of color who help to foster a warm, welcoming environment full of sweet love, good food and mad dancing in the kitchen. This is a community where I know folks will hear what I’m saying and understand me. My favorite part of TWC is the PEOPLE! And the comfy couch.

TWC is one of the friendliest and most comfortable co-ops to be in for students of color, and that is something I don’t think a lot of non-marginalized folks believe. They will never understand what it’s like to be a person of color in a white society, so I think they should stop being bitter about the fact that TWC exists as a safe space and let us be. They don’t complain and resist Baldwin being a safe space for women and trans folks, so why should they care about TWC being a safe space for People of Color?!

I realized that TWC was really the only co-op where I would feel comfortable to show up as I was and not worry about how others would perceive me. I also really love the fact that damn near everyone in the co-op is a radical activist and that we learn from each other every day.

Third World Co-op is for lack of a better term “the Sh!t” because it has since its inception served as a political and safe-space for students who have felt marginalized by CDS and the Oberlin College Community on the basis of race, class, gender, sex, and/or sexuality. For me, being a member of TWC is about being part of a legacy and community that have emphasized change, resistance, solidarity, and the freedom of cultural and political expression.

In Third World Co-op, I know everyone’s name and everyone knows mine. We are a small community in which camraderie is great and cliques are few. I won’t paint a rosy picture by saying that we’re totally united both politically and socially – that’s not always true. However, I appreciate the fact that friendliness overrides differences and we can come together on many issues. As a first year, Third World Co-op has been a support network that has helped me find a place on this campus, and I am excited to eat there for the rest of my time at Oberlin.

— Lauren Salazar