Sankofa, formally the African American Network, is re-emerging in 2014.
The word Sankofa comes from the Akan people of Ghana. It is an Akan term that literally means, "to go back and get it." One of the Adinkra symbols for Sankofa depicts a mythical bird flying forward with its head turned backward.
The egg in its mouth represents the "gems" or knowledge of the past upon which wisdom is based; it also signifies the generation to come that would benefit from that wisdom. There are several overlapping interpretations:
- Taking from the past what is good and bringing it into the present in order to make positive progress through the benevolent use of knowledge.
- Going back and reclaiming our past so we can move forward; so we understand why and how we came to be who we are today.
- One basic and important meaning still lies; one’s past is an important aspect of one’s future. So in order to make the best of one’s future, one must visit one’s past.
Sankofa is a voluntary networking association made up of people affiliated with the University of Rochester who share a common interest in making positive impacts in individual lives, embracing diversity, building relationships, strengthening our communities and enhancing the quality of life for ALL at the University of Rochester and its affiliates. Our motto for the past eight years has been “Reach back and bring someone else along”; which mirrors the energy and essence of Sankofa.
Our principle mission is to inform, involve and inspire like minded individuals who desire to work in an environment that embraces diversity, individuality and creativity throughout the University. Because the University’s culture is rich and diverse with many subcultures within, fostering and maintaining productive, collaborative relationships is crucial to our success. Sankofa represents an employee resource group that includes those who identify as Black or of African Heritage (from the countries of African), people of color, Caribbean Islands (British West and French East), Indigenous, mixed race/ethnicity and all others for which the rich, diverse culture and heritage resonates.
We are open to everyone, and contain members of diverse backgrounds and cultures that unite as one, to facilitate a healthy environment where people can learn and socialize in a safe and respectable manner.
Our principle goal is to provide opportunities for everyone to directly contribute to the University’s effort to effectively support, manage, sustain and promote diversity and inclusion. We achieve this by serving as a resource to provide social, networking, mentoring, volunteering and personal and professional development opportunities that is open to everyone affiliated with the University.
This is an exciting time for Sankofa as it enters its 8th year of promoting diversity within the University and creating a working environment where cooperation and communication is encouraged and fostered.
A Guiding Coalition of dedicated and creative individuals is leading this group for the first quarter of 2014; with the goal of a collaborative leadership team emerging from this planning group. Our website is currently under construction and will be rebuilt soon.
Watch for activities and programs during the month of February: Black, African American History Month.
Email address: Sankofa@URMC.rochester.edu