Sankofa is forging a path through previously uncharted waters in order to achieve unprecedented results, through having frank discussions about race with community members, holding organizations accountable, providing Newport with Black female leadership, de-escalating conflict, and supplying locals with resources.
We use our knowledge, lived experiences, and ability to connect with the community on a deeper level to build a powerful coalition. This leadership also addresses the need for residents, community members and participants alike to see people that look like them leading and offering services. In this way, we are different from many traditional, larger non-profits; we look like the people we support, we share lived experiences, and we can provide personal empathy in tough situations.
Our distinctive capacity is exemplified in the way the community has come to trust us and see us as family. With Sankofa, many community members, particularly those of color, express that they feel uniquely safe and supported. They bring our leadership concerns they do not feel comfortable voicing elsewhere. We’ve had community members come to us as confidants, encouraged them to advocate for themselves and their families to seek and accept help, and acted as a communicative liaison between individuals and local bureaucracies (like the school system). In this way, we occupy a unique space in the city of Newport; to our knowledge, there is no other organization in the area currently filling these disparate and critically important roles in our community.