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Leila Roberts

Leila Roberts

Just Community Development and Investment

In this Just Economy role I invite us to think of economics as the ancient Greeks did—and as do many of our world’s Indigenous people—as “oikos-nomos”: management of our home. How can we leverage local, statewide and national investments to grow well-being, heal harm, and rebalance injustice in our many communities? Can we always ask of the projects we want to help finance: Who has access and opportunity? Who benefits? Who controls or governs?

My family and I arrived in Wiyot lands in 2015 hoping to deepen our belonging to this beloved community, and to learn where we could contribute. Most recently, I led the North Coast Small Business Development Center from 2016 to 2023, growing services and impact with independently-owned small local enterprises across Humboldt, Del Norte, and Adjacent Tribal Lands. We translated all of our training materials into Spanish, and proudly launched the region’s first worker-ownership program, among other successes. Before then I had a 25 year career helping grow strong community based organizations from Philadelphia to D.C., Vermont to Bangladesh. I currently serve on the boards of Cooperation Humboldt and the Crescent City / Del Norte Chamber of Commerce.

An Arab-American daughter and granddaughter of immigrants from North Africa (al Maghreb) and Great Britain, I have lived on the shores of three oceans and seas, two bays, and six rivers. My partner and our pointy-eared wayits siswupt (black dog, in Soulatluk) Benicio del Perro, live in Raqlhirilh hulumou’lilh, Wolf’s Home (also called Humboldt Hill).

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