Who We Are

Group Photo Elders Enstooling upside down 2012“Traditional African communities would not have functioned without the day-to-day input and guidance of the grandparents and elders. This group serves as the trunk of the spreading tree. The roots of the tree are the ancestors; the trunk is the foundation for the offshoots and branches — ever-growing families and offspring, the new generations. Interdependence, or the custom and conviction that a group of people is dependent upon each other for the basic needs of life, serves to fuse and harmonize the community. Elders are a necessary and integral part of any functioning African American community. African American Elders councils exist in many selected cities and communities across the United States. With the resurgence of the thrust for African-centered community and educational programs, there is the recent development of rituals and Elders Councils. In other communities, these phenomena have a long-standing tradition.” ~ The Council of Elders, Howard County, USA
In 2001, the African American community in Wichita, Kansas seated its first-ever Council of Elders – The African American Council of Elders ~ Wichita/Sedgwick County. The Wichita African-American Council of Elders is a collective made up of concerned elders from our community, who have come together for the express purpose of sharing what they’ve seen and learned to help our community grow stronger. They act as an advisory board, offering guidance and leadership on issues affecting our community. They are here to instruct and advise, to guide, to assist, and to correct when needed. They are involved with the youth of our community, and the schools, and even with other existing organizations wherever and to whatever degree possible. They represent vintage leadership and a community treasure – meeting with youth, presiding over community celebrations, mentoring current and future leaders, representing the community with public officials and so much more. They have decades worth of connections throughout the broader community and embody a tremendous network of resources. Collectively, they represent over 1,500 years of experience and knowledge. They are community jewels.