The Urban Sankofa Project Reaches Back To Get Whats Ours
While my TIP features usually stand for Truly Inspiring People, this post is about a Truly Inspiring Project! The Urban Sankofa Project is a non profit organization whose mission is to change the narrative about Africa while reconnecting the Diaspora. The USP will allow young black adults (age 18-25) to secure their African birthright for free. I am so thankful to be part of this project helping to raise $12,000 toward sending 3 Sankofa Travelers and 1 volunteer to Ghana, West Africa.
What is an African Birthright?
In many cultures, people who have been removed from their native land are urged, in fact they are implored to return home. Similar to the Islamic pilgrimage devout Muslims take to the Mecca, or the Judaistic birthright to return to Israel, Jube wanted to provide the same privilege to young black adults. The term Sankofa means to “reach back and get it” and that’s exactly what he wants his Sankofa Travelers to accomplish; to reach back and connect to who they are and where they come from.
When Jube Charles, founder, was in his early 20s, he served missions in both Zambia and Ghana. During both experiences, he connected to the land, the people, and the culture. Jube’s passions at the time included poetry and he was granted the opportunity to share his gift with the native people of Zambia not realizing that he was being gifted with a vision in return. In his own words, he says Zambia “planted the seed of the USP, and Ghana watered the seed to life.” There were areas awakened in him that he never knew existed until his visit to The Continent. He believes the same awakening should occur within the entire Diaspora.
The Diaspora + Ghana
Ghana marks the beginning of where the Diasporic disconnect began. 75% of the slave dungeons built on the west coast of Africa are in Ghana. Although I am completely exhausted with anything Wakandan, (especially after the Wu-Tang Wakanda shirt came out) there’s definitely been a spark of interest in African culture and history thanks to the huge influence Marvel’s Black Panther had on the culture. It’s been long overdue for African-Americans to reconnect with where they came from. Wakanda might be fictional, but fortunately for us we have 54 real African countries to explore and The USP will begin with Ghana, West Africa. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana, announced 2019 as the “Year of the Return for all Diasporan descendants of Africans.” “In the year 2019, we open our arms even wider to welcome home our brothers and sisters in what will become a birthright journey home for the global African family,” he said. Clearly, the time to reconnect is NOW. I think it’s important that we support the USP because nobody tried taking me to Africa when I was 18! At that age, I had officially retired my school Metrocard with ambitions to travel anywhere but Africa. I thought Africa was unchartered territory – if I only knew!
The USP is an amazing organization and Jube’s desire to direct the personal development of our youth through the knowledge of our Continent is extremely honorable. The Urban Sankofa Project’s inaugural pilgrimage takes place August 2019 but stay tuned for future trips throughout Africa including Senegal, Tanzania and Liberia. The USP has big dreams and in order to accomplish them they’ll need your help. For details and more information about how to support, check out their fundraising page, and don’t forget to spread the word!
Thanks for reading!