“There’s something about the way we describe the South as somehow backwards. Other. Different. That is actually a denial of the core of what the country is. And that self denial allows for a story that doesn’t get to the essential tension between freedom and subjugation…For me, that is why we have to look to the South to understand the country.”

Imani Perry

Dear Community

We are often asked, ‘why travel to the American South’ for immersive learning experiences? While a seemingly straightforward question, I find this quite thoughtful. We know the South is a region full of riches—musictraditionfood, and warmth, both of the sun and the people who live there. The South holds part of my heart.

The South is also the part of the country that presents complicated and at times, divisive realities—primarily around the discussion of politics, race, and history. There are foundational tensions in the region that reverberate around the United States. 

Numerous books have been written about the history and impact of plantation slavery in the South. Some of these books we highlight in Sankofa Impact curriculum, such as the 1619 Project by Nikole Hannah-Jones and South to America by Imani Perry. These writers bring into the light truths about our country that run the risk of being hidden and eventually forgotten. Their deep connections to the South help illuminate stories of trauma and triumph

In order to fully understand the United States, we must look to the South to add crucial dimensions to our cultural analysis. We go there to immerse ourselves in the joy, resistance, and pain of our shared history. We go to highlight similarities and differences with the Pacific Northwest. We go because the South is leading the national conversation about anti-racism, history, and liberation.

Sankofa Impact will again be in the American South multiple times this year. We hope to be there with you very soon.

Keep on marching,

Shout Outs

Coffee x Vinyl. Sankofa Impact is opening our doors for monthly office hours. Come down and chat with us over a cup of coffee and listen to some music on vinyl. We want to hear what you are up to and offer some updates of our own. Stop by and hang out with our team for our first session on March 28th from 10am to 1pm when we will be playing Bob Marley & The Wailers: Exodus.

We will be brewing Black-owned Campfire Coffee with some cream, sugar, and a little nutmeg, (a favorite topping of the late Steve Pool.) We are happy to share a cup or feel free to bring your own 12 oz. latte from Boon Boona.

Coffee + Vinyl will be held monthly on the last Thursday of every month. Sankofa Impact looks forward to welcoming you to our office in the historically Black Central District. See you soon!

Utah recently joined Florida, Texas, North Carolina, North Dakota, and Tennessee in having laws on the books restricting or banning Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts. 25 other states have introduced more than 70 bills targeting DEI at public institutions. Additionally, more than 150 bills in 35 states were introduced aiming to restrict access to library materials, and to punish library workers who do not comply. The American Library Association reported a record-breaking number of attempts to ban books in 2023.The backlash against 2020 is in full swing.

The Sankofa Impact team experiences this backlash in a number of vitally important ways…

Sankofa Impact is partnering with the Foster School of Business and the Global Business Center at the University of Washington for our 3rd Race, Culture, and Business MBA Immersion to the American South. Starting in New Orleans and ending in Atlanta, this trip will take place September 15-23, 2024.

The course explores race in America and challenges our understanding of the role businesses plays in both perpetuating inequity and effecting change. During this unique journey, students draw connections between race, culture, and business practices. Read RCB alum Irfan Vengasseri’s blog here.

Applications open April 1, 2024. Stay tuned for more updates!

SI Community Spotlight

Jerrell (Jay) Patacsil currently works in management and strategy consulting for Boston Consulting group (BCG). He has supported businesses in many different industries from Tech to Aerospace and Defense. Prior to BCG, Jay worked at AT&T as a Program Manager. In this role he supported marketing and operations for the region. Jay was a student leader for the inaugural Race, Culture, and Business trip with Foster School of Business MBAs and Sankofa Impact. Jay has an undergraduate degree in business from the University of Washington as well as MBA from the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington. He looks forward to leveraging all of these experiences to support the mission of Sankofa Impact.

Are you ready to take the journey?

At this time we are asking potential participants to enter our Pilgrimage Portal. This preliminary application takes about 5 minutes to fill out and could change your life. Know someone who is ready? Let them know! When we have enough participants to run a trip, we will reach out for a full application.

Feel free to reach out to us with any questions or comments.