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New Anchor Partner: Project Ujima, Akron OH

February 28, 2018

Everyday Democracy is pleased to announce the addition of a fifth Anchor Partner:  Project Ujima, based in Akron, Ohio.

Anchor Partners are leaders in addressing structural racism, engaging all different kinds of people in public dialogue, and linking dialogue to action and positive change. They are selected for their effective work and dedication to shared principles. Everyday Democracy first worked with Project Ujima beginning in 2015 to address the racial gap in infant mortality. 

“We are honored to partner with Everyday Democracy and the other Anchor Partners in the work of empowering citizens and strengthening communities,” said Crystal Jones, Executive Director, Project Ujima. “This partnership will enhance our capacity to become a sustainable grassroots organization, dedicated to helping those most in need discover their power to have a voice and be a force for change.”

Everyday Democracy helps improve the quality of civic life through dialogue, organizing, including all voices, and addressing structural racism and other inequities. In addition to helping create capacity in local communities, Everyday Democracy works with Anchor Partners around the country, whose capacity and leadership amplifies the impact of community work while building capacity in regions and nationally.

“We are excited about this partnership with Project Ujima,” said Martha McCoy, Everyday Democracy’s Executive Director. “They bring creativity and energy to their efforts to include all voices in solving tough problems. They show that with intention and inclusion, communities can work for all. Through this anchor partnership, their good work will ripple to other communities across the U.S.”  

Project Ujima began in 2011, created by the Akron Neighborhood Trust to empower disenfranchised residents. The project received a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and focused primarily on enhancing education, financial literacy, student health and pathways to employment from the school system in in West Akron. In 2016, it began work to reduce the high infant mortality rate in the region, with community dialogue assistance and guidance from Everyday Democracy. 

Everyday Democracy Anchor Partners become part of a national learning network and share lessons and tools on racial/social equity driven dialogue and change practices. They contribute to a larger movement of regional and national organizations dedicated to strengthening democratic capacity for community voice and change.

“Anchor Partners help build a civic infrastructure for equitable, democratic change in our country,” said Valeriano Ramos, the Director of Strategic Alliances at Everyday Democracy. “We learn from them and they learn from us and each other about ways to strengthen our toolkits and practices to support authentic community participation for local problem-solving and decision-making.”

Other Everyday Democracy Anchor Partners include New Hampshire Listens, NHListens.org; West Virginia Center for Civic Life, wvcivivlife.org; InterFaith Works of Central NY, interfaithworkscny.org/; and the Housing Partnership of West Palm Beach, Florida, http://www.cp-cto.org/

 

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Our ultimate goal is to create positive community change that includes everyone, and our tools, advice, and resources foster that kind of change. Whether you’re grappling with a divisive community issue, or simply want to include residents’ voices in city government, Everyday Democracy's Dialogue to Change process, using a racial equity lens, can help.