Sankofa is a social justice organization founded by Harry Belafonte that enlists the support of today's most celebrated artists and influential individuals in collaboration with grassroots partners to elevate the voices of the disenfranchised and promote justice, peace, and equality.

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REIGNITING THE ACTIVIST TRADITION

The tradition of activism among America’s artistic and cultural leaders goes back to the early days of social justice movements. In 1939, Marion Anderson staged a defiant outdoor concert at the Lincoln Memorial, having been barred from Constitution Hall on account of her race. Paul Robeson, one of America’s most prominent African American actors in the 40’s, spoke openly for equality and encouraged his peers to do the same. “The artist must elect to fight for freedom or for slavery” he said, “I have made my choice.” The 1960’s ushered in a wave of artist-activists, from Joan Baez to Harry Belafonte to Bob Dylan. In the 1970’s there was Marvin Gaye to Bob Marley, whose politically charged work added cultural resonance to the words and actions of Martin Luther King Jr. and other social justice leaders. More recently in the 1980’s, Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie along with dozens of other artists staged “We Are the World,” conceived by Harry Belafonte, which delivered powerful testament to the power of artists to drive attention, resources, and action towards the world’s injustices. Artists such as Stevie Wonder, The Dixie Chicks, Alicia Keys, Public Enemy and Macklemore have carried this same spirit of progressive change into the present day.Artists and performers are in a unique position to shape our society's cultural and moral destiny - to cast light on pressing issues and to use their creative gifts to inspire action. When they use their platform to speak up on matters of political and social urgency, the impact is profound and lasting.

Sankofa was founded in the spirit of these great leaders and artists, and now turns its attention to the most pressing issues of our time.

THE ISSUES WE ADDRESS

Sankofa focuses on issues of injustice that disproportionately affect the disenfranchised, the oppressed, and the underserved, which left unaddressed will continue to impact the lives of too many individuals and remain a scar on our nation’s moral character.If you are concerned about the social justice issues that affect the lives of disempowered millions, we ask you to contribute to Sankofa.org. If you are an artist, musician, or performer, you can help support Sankofa by contributing your talents. To learn more or donate, contact us at info@sankofa.org.

Some of the key issues we are currently addressing include: the systemic violence that has poisoned our society and is being reinforced by legislation such as Stand Your Ground, rampant over-incarceration rates including the cradle-to-prison pipeline and an unequal justice system; income disparity, where wealth is concentrated at the top and the earnings gap between has only grown more pronounced since the 1960’s.

WHAT WE DO

Sankofa.org is fiscally sponsored by the New World Foundation, a 501c3 public charity. Sankofa.org addresses injustice and creates change at multiple levels. In support of our grassroots partners, we enlist artists, performers, and prominent individuals to deliver messages of moral and political consequence. We stage a wide range of events to further amplify our message and elevate the voices of those already doing this critical work. Additionally we employ online and offline media to increase the awareness and spirit of activism. Money raised by Sankofa.org is re-granted to our coalition partners working on the ground for lasting change and towards building a self-sustaining endowment to continue our work.

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How you can help

If you are concerned about the social justice issues that affect the lives of disempowered millions, we ask you to contribute to Sankofa.org. If you are an artist, musician, or performer, you can help support Sankofa by contributing your talents. To learn more or donate, contact us at info@sankofa.org.

THE MEANING OF SANKOFA

You must reach back to reclaim that which is lost in order to move forward

The “Sankofa” is a metaphorical symbol used by the Akan people of Ghana, generally depicted as a bird with its head turned backward taking an egg from its back. It expresses the importance of reaching back to knowledge gained in the past and bringing it into the present in order to make positive progress.