The African Heritage Institute (AHI) is a nonprofit organization .
Its purposes are to:
- Expose children and youth of African descent in the diaspora, and those of other backgrounds to authentic African history, culture and traditions through African heritage programs and projects
- Connect Africans of all ages to the legacy of their history and culture
A great number of children and youth of African descent are disconnected from the legacy of their history, culture, and traditions – starved of the knowledge of the history of their ancestral past. To many of our children and youth, Africa remains a dark place, a bane of shame to some in public schools. Yet, we have our respective national or local gatherings and Black History Month every February without a real commitment and dedication to sharing the knowledge they have with the younger generation. We carry these stories inside us, unshared and untold, expecting our children to navigate the treacherous path of finding themselves. We carry the burden of stories unshared with our own children – the stories we grew up with, stories we know from our childhood growing up in the villages, stories told to us by our fathers and mothers, stories meant to light our paths, stories that speak of equity and courage, patriotism and loyalty to one’s motherland, to pride in oneself and responsibility to one’s community, stories that tell of the strength and courage of our ancestors, stories that bind us to our rich past, stories woven with the yarn of culture and language.
“There is no greater agony”, says Maya Angelou, “than bearing an untold story inside you”.
We leave our children without a cultural compass, without a legacy to hand on to their own children. Uprooted! They bestride two cultures, owning none.Marcus Garvey so wisely stated that “a people without the knowledge of their past history, origin, and culture is like a tree without roots”.
The mission of The African Heritage Institute is to promote pride in the rich cultural heritage of people of African descent through knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of Africa’s place in world history. Raising our children’s and youth’s awareness of their cultural heritage by increasing their knowledge of Africa builds character and a healthy self-esteem.
The AHI will be a place where cultural awareness is promoted. By providing the children and youth of African descent with opportunities and environment to learn about their cultural heritage and traditions, individual and collective pride will be sown and maintained.