City of St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter Delivered A Hope Inspired Welcome Address At Ujamaa Place 5th Annual Celebrating Every Step Forward Breakfast

Ujamaa Men felt the love from the "Who's Who" list of Minnesota guests that showed up to celebrate their transformation success . . . including two of Mayor Carter's predecessors, Chris Coleman and George Latimer, Senator Keith Ellison, Saint Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell, community leaders, individual donors, corporate and foundation leadership.
By: Ujamaa Place
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Ujamaa Men Transformation
Ujamaa Men Transformation
SAINT PAUL, Minn. - Oct. 16, 2018 - PRLog -- In its eighth year of operations, Ujamaa Place has consistently focused on its core programming of transforming the lives of African American men, aged 18-30, who have experienced involvement with the criminal justice system.  Their Annual Friend & Fundraising breakfast highlights Ujamaa's fundraising efforts to add un-restricted funds to serve the needs of the most marginalized citizens in the Twin Cities. The Ujamaa men face harsh winter months in the Twin Cities without housing or basic care support. Ujamaa historically sees a spike in the number of men that enroll in Ujamaa's program in October and November. Year-end fundraising helps meet the increased number of men being served.

Breakfast proceeds to date are $220,000.  Ujamaa seeks to raise an additional $80K in its individual donor campaigns by year end.  Ujamaa Place's 2018 budget is $2.7 million in funding coming from Corporations, Foundations, Family Foundations, Individuals and local government agencies. Ujamaa serves an average of 500 men yearly enrolled in the Theory of Transformation consisting of seven programs and 37 services available to the men at no cost.  They are:

1.    Housing

2.    Education

3.    Employment

4.    Behavior Health

5.    Criminal Justice Advocacy

6.    Cultural History

7.    Support Services

Metro Transit Chief John Harrington, co-founder of Ujamaa Place and Board Chairman welcomed dignitaries and supporters before introducing Mayor Melvin Carter, who spoke about being at the table during the inception of Ujamaa Place and why he is proud to be a part of the Ujamaa Place family.  Mayor Carter spoke of the City of St. Paul's three pillars: public safety, lifelong learning and economic justice and inclusion.  He went on to say: "Ujamaa Place sits on the nexus of all three of these things, empowering men to take control of their future, connecting families to opportunities, supporting public safety, preparing men for employment, while addressing their education and housing instability.  We know that when people are stable, our communities are safer." (VIDEO)

Next, Ujamaa Place's President / CEO, Otis Zanders thanked Mayor Melvin Carter, the breakfast corporate sponsors, Ujamaa team, donors of the Journey2Africa Education Fund, University of St. Thomas, Breakfast Table hosts, Foundations and individual donors.  Mr. Zanders closed by thanking the Ujamaa Board of Directors for having the audacity to dream that all men should have access to education, jobs and a home to avoid the criminal justice system and referencing scripture from the Gospel of Matthew: "Truly I Tell You Whatever You Did For One of the Least of These, Brothers and Sister, You Did For Me."  (VIDEO)

Mr. Zanders then introduced keynote speaker, Dr. William C. Bell of Casey Family Programs whose keynote's message focused on "The Three Aspects of Transformation."  First, "Restoration", to restore that which has been taken away. Secondly, "Reclamation", is reclaiming that which has been taken away. Thirdly, "Repatriation", is about helping the person returning home.

Dr. Bell delivered an inspiring address to the 550 guests saying: "When you help men, you have an immeasurable impact on the future of their children, families and community.  There are 10 million children, most of them under the age of ten, that have experienced the incarceration of a parent.  "I dare any of you to believe in the possibility of a transformed life. The ROI on that investment cannot be measured on what you are giving to the least of these.  Our future depends on each one of us.  This type of transformation is the hope for every Ujamaa man.  The hope for every Ujamaa man is: "we live because you live." (VIDEO)

Community elders Dr. Josie R. Johnson, Professor El-Kati were acknowledged by Chief of Operations, Lee Buckley, joined by Ujamaa men who shared their stories of transformation by giving passionate and emotional testimony about their Ujamaa Place journey.  (VIDEO) Ms. Buckley then introduced Dr. Artika Tyner, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion at the University of St. Thomas to talk about Ujamaa Place's Journey 2 Africa education trip to Ghana shared with two Ujamaa men.  The two men, Bernard and Clarence shared their experiences touching the hearts of the guests, who responded with a standing ovation.  (VIDEO)


About Ujamaa Place

Ujamaa Place provides holistic transformational and stabilizing support and services for young African American men experiencing inequity at the intersection of race and poverty to help them achieve personal success.


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