Young African-American men disproportionately encounter barriers that can lead to instability in their lives. St. Paul African-American community leaders believed that the social services system was failing these young men and another approach was needed. This week, the non-profit organization Ujamaa Place’s mission to help you Black men navigate through institutionalized obstacles.
Guests: Otis Zanders, President and CEO of Ujamaa Place; Paul Laumer, a graduate of the Ujamaa program
- Part 1 – 14:48
Zanders says Ujamaa Place was started with the premise, “we can’t continue to incarcerate our way out of an issue that was plaguing our communities.” To respond to the high incarceration rates and opportunity gaps affecting African-American communities in the Twin Cities, Ujamaa Place helps young Black men ages 18-30 find employment and housing and helps reconnect the men to their families. Using a “Theory of Transformation,” Ujamaa addresses trauma and poverty and the historic and systemic issues that often lead to incarceration.
- Part 2 – 11:47
In Minnesota, African-Americans have lower graduation rates, higher unemployment and lower rates of home ownership. These opportunity gaps have created a loss of confidence in the system for many young Black men, says Zanders. To close these gaps, Zanders says, Minnesota needs to understand the policies and practices that are in place that don’t allow for prosperity.
Ujamaa Place will host the event Nonviolence 365 on October 10th and 11th.
For more information about Ujamaa Place go to: ujamaaplace.org