Coronacast 21: Lisa

It seems as though Lisa Raiola created Hope & Main, the food business incubator in Warren, from sheer force of will. She saw a need, mobilized a community of believers, and worked her tail off to make it successful. And it is successful; there are currently 93 businesses with licenses attached to Hope & Main.

I spoke with Lisa on June 3, in a week when our community and our nation — still reeling from the coronavirus — is crying out from the oppression and violence perpetuated for centuries against Black and African-American people. Going into our conversation, I felt heavy and unfocused.

Reflecting on the past two months, Lisa said, “There’s a great awakening to how interdependent we are on one another as a society and as a human race.” And then she said something that struck me as particularly profound: “We see that for the same reasons we had to stay inside to protect each other’s health, we’ve been drawn outside to protect each other’s rights.”

Yes to that. And yes to the hard work of being antiracist, yes to small and local, yes to the helpers, yes to the New Next.

Listen to the full conversation for more on how Hope & Main responded to community needs, the impact on member businesses, and what this might mean for the future. And stay to the end for Lisa’s Springsteen shout-out.