Dr. Corey Wiggins, a Mississippi native, is the Director of the Hope Policy Institute, the policy division of HOPE (Hope Enterprise Corporation and Hope Credit Union). As director, Dr. Wiggins manages the strategic direction, sustainability, research training and advocacy agenda for the Institute. (taken form: http://hopepolicy.org/team/dr-corey-wiggins/) I’m a person that helps build bridges amongst people. I have a diverse background, that includes spending time in academia, non profit, government and working with communities. I think that provides me with a unique perspective that allows me to bridge academic research with community practice and allows me to connect people with policy. My diverse experiences also allows me to be in diverse environments, working with diverse stakeholders and moving people towards solutions while understanding that this solutions can be innovative, and should be innovative. More importantly, I understand the value in communities have in answering the challenges that they are facing.
How does your current work relate to economic democracy?
My current work is focused on changing systems through policy change strategies. It is important to create systems that intentionally support communities and support families on their way to economic prosperity. So often we find those that are power making decisions based on their own assumptions, without really engaging families and people who interact and work around so many of the systems that people come in contact with, for example: food assistance programs, housing programs, other federal and state programs, that are designed to help uplift people of a given community, but how often do we stop, and ask members of the community and, families for their input? My work focuses on connecting communities and families to policy making process. I frame this work as being translational - translating community voices and community ideas into public policies and designing systems that create opportunity and not limit opportunity. In system design, I think is important to focus on who, so often find people talking about the how and what, but don’t spend time talking about the who, ensuring that the people we want to support, and work with are engaged and partners in the process.