The Sankofa Group for Civic Engagement Looks Back to Move Forward
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The Sankofa Group for Civic Engagement Looks Back to Move Forward

Los Angeles : CA : USA | Oct 05, 2013 at 7:44 AM PDT
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The Sankofa Group for Civic Engagement Looks Back to Move Forward

What the rest of the world is beginning to grasp about millennials is that we're not waiting for the government, elected officials or anyone else for that matter to create the world we want to live in.

Fiscal reform, criminal justice, reproductive justice, access to housing, jobs: These are the actual issues facing citizens in their daily lives. There are numerous groups championing for progress, but even they need help. Help in the form of dollars, legislation, high-level partnerships -- all critical ingredients to inciting lasting social change -- and help is on the way in the form of The Sankofa Group for Civic Engagement.

The Sankofa Group is a social startup melding lifelong activist Nii-Quartelai Quartey with emerging fundraiser and political strategist Kenya T. Parham. As a mission-driven organization with mission-driven leadership, each saw the benefit of pooling their vast network of resources. Combining forces gives change-makers access to a full range of public engagement services, driving long-term gains that go beyond election and fundraising cycles.

Candidates, campaigns or advocacy groups looking to inject new ideas into their work are the ideal partners for The Sankofa Group, notes Parham. At present, a campaign may hire a number of different firms to handle tasks The Sankofa Group can execute as a team. Their model for effective advocacy streamlines points of contact and provides strategy that is nimble and in direct reaction to what is happening in real time.

Flexibility is immensely critical when your primary mission is eliminating the massive and unnecessary gap between legislators, nonprofits and other community entities whose interests are often mutual. To bridge this ravine of ridiculousness, The Sankofa Group is building a bridge from the past. Their ethos for change starts with going back to the knowledge that served our foremothers and fathers well in the past, collecting it and using it to fearlessly move forward. It's a hip, healing approach to politics and political management. Timely, as the partisanship, gridlock and general incivility of Washington, D.C. continuously reminds us what we don’t like about our political process. Mistrust for the system abounds.

“Everything in our lives is political,” responds Parham. “Avoiding political entities or becoming discouraged about the process makes no sense for businesses and nonprofits whose organizational growth is dependent on having partnerships with lawmakers who can be a voice or a vote.”

The Sankofa Group is 100 percent not party affiliated, meaning their allegiance is solely to providing strategic partnerships, fundraising support and policy advocacy. "We're more than a consulting firm," Quartey says, "we're a movement and we’re here to do the work."

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Lauren talks with Kenya T. Parham & Nii-Qaurtelai Quartey about their social enterprise The Sankofa Group for Civic Engagmemnt
Lauren Brown Jarvis is based in Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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  • Rally on the National Mall in Washington, Oct. 2, 2010. (Image: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

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