The mission of Ujamaa Place is to assist young African American men primarily between the ages of 18 and 30, who are economically disadvantaged and have experienced repeated cycles of failure. This mission statement is rooted in the philosophy of African American culture and empowerment – that everyone is important, valuable, worthy, and loveable.
History of Ujamaa Place:
Ujamaa Place is an organization focused on young African American men in Saint Paul (primarily between the ages of 18 and 30), many of whom suffer multiple barriers to becoming stable, productive members of the community. These barriers include being undereducated, unemployed and/or unemployable, affiliated with gangs, a criminal history, homelessness, drug use, and a general marginalization by greater society.
In 2009, a group of leaders in the St. Paul African American community, including then St. Paul Police Chief John Harrington [rt.], Executive Director of the St. Paul YWCA Billy Collins, then St. Paul City Council Member Melvin Carter III, Thad Wilderson M.A. Ed. LP, Mary K. Boyd from St. Paul Public Schools, the NAACP, and several members of the Black Ministerial Alliance and the Council on Black Minnesotans identified that programming for this population was a significant gap in the social service delivery system in St. Paul, and needed immediate attention. Without intervention from a program like Ujamaa Place, this will be a “lost generation” of young men who die at a young age or are incarcerated for most of their lives.
After several months engaging additional key community leaders in development and planning for the organization, and securing early start-up funding from The Saint Paul Foundation and F.R. Bigelow Foundation, Ujamaa Place received 501(c)(3) nonprofit status in April 2010, and opened its doors at 1885 University Avenue in St. Paul in January 2011.
Ujamaa Place Board member David Martin, provides an eloquent welcome and description of the organization during the “2014 Ask Breakfast” keynoted by Shawn Dove, Black Male Achievement Campaign. Martin shares who and what Ujamaa Place is to it's program participants, and why continued support of this organization is imperative.
Minnesota State Representative (District 65-A) Rena Moran shares her personal experience and testimony regarding the power of Ujamaa Place programming, and bares witness to transformation of the men served.
Meet the Team:
How We Work: