5625 W. Master Street
Philadelphia, PA 19131
Facsimile: (215) 879-5340
Queen Mother Falaka Fattah
House of Umoja, Inc.
“The key to the future is knowledge of your past.”
- African Proverb –
Fifty two years ago in September 1968, the House of Umoja, Inc. (www.houseofumoja.net) was established by Queen Mother Falaka Fattah. Cognizant of the fact that knowledge of the past is key to shaping the future of souls and communities, for five decades, the internationally acclaimed institution has designed and implemented timeless Global Models for eradicating violence, fostering community development, creating economic sustainability, and addressing many of the key challenges that prevent boys and adolescent males from reaching their full potential and maturing into productive and successful adults. Its successful track record of positively transforming the lives of approximately 3,000 male adolescents and reducing gang violence, moved universities and institutions to seek the House of Umoja, Inc.’s expertise. The Office of Juvenile Justice and Prevention and the Center for Disease Control were among the institutions that sought the House of Umoja, Inc.’s expertise on gang violence reduction, youth programming, and community organizing. Former United States Presidents The Honorable James Earl Carter, Jr. and the late Honorable Ronald Wilson Reagan recognized the House of Umoja, Inc. for its pioneering work that has been documented in the books “A Summons To Life”, by Robert Woodson of the American Enterprise Institute (www.aei.org) in 1981 and “The Violent Juvenile Offender”, by Paul DeMuro and Richard S. Allinson of the National Council On Crime and Delinquency (www.nccdglobal.org), in 1984.
The current alarmingly rising incidences of deadly gun violence in the City of Philadelphia is painfully reminiscent of rampant gun violence that extinguished lives throughout the 1960s and into the early 1970s. Five decades ago, bloody and deadly gang violence played out in Philadelphia’s neighborhood streets and school yards. Building on the knowledge of the past – a past replete with collaborative, holistic, and African-centered solutions – the House of Umoja, Inc. and incarcerated souls at Pennsylvania’s prisons collaborated for a period of two years to bring together warring gang leaders throughout the City of Philadelphia. Incarcerated souls in Pennsylvania prisons planned a peace conference which the city’s gang leaders attended even selected the date on which it would be convened – 1 January 1974. . The 12 hour peace conference which was divided into three sessions commenced at 10:00 A.M. and concluded at 10:00 P.M. The first session facilitated by Queen Mother Falaka Fattah provided gang leader with a history lesson – 100 years of lynching, the Middle Passage, slavery, and how African Americans were currently dying. During the second session, facilitated by Mr. David Fattah who served as the peace conference’s negotiator, gang leaders were encouraged to ask themselves whether they knew what they were fighting for and why. A Town Hall comprised the peace conference’s third session which ended with Mr. Fattah asking “Why not try peace”? and presenting the Imani Peace Pact™ to gang leaders. The Imani Peace Pact™ which Mr. Fattah authored was signed by the gang leaders on 1 January 1974. It was an act that ended decades of violent and deadly gang violence. Signatories of the Imani Peace Pact™ continue to honor the commitment they made to nonviolence 46 years ago. The Imani Peace Pact™, now known as the Imani Peace Pledge™, constitutes a timeless Global Model for conflict resolution and ending gun violence.
House of Umoja, Inc. -- Continuing To Build On Knowledge Of The Past
Let’s take a look at how the House of Umoja, Inc. has continued to build upon the knowledge of the past.
February 2020 – Fathers Literacy Initiative: Mindful of the African proverb which states “The Child who is note embraced by the village will burn it down to feel its warmth,” to prevent children from feeling unembraced by the village due to the consistent absence of Fathers in their life, the House of Umoja, Inc. designed the “Fathers Literacy Initiative”. The initiative helps Fathers who are unable to be physically present in their child’s life on a consistent basis – Incarcerated Fathers, Homeless Fathers, Military Fathers, and NonCustodial Fathers – establish a presence in their child’s life by engaging them in reading a book together. Incarcerated Fathers, Military Fathers Homeless Fathers, and NonCustodial Fathers participating in the Fathers Literacy Project will develop a strong bond and relationship with their child; help improve their child’s literacy skills and academic performance; and ultimately, deter their child from being caught up in the “school-to-prison” pipeline.
March 2020 – A Call For Compassion In Response To COVID-19: The House of Umoja, Inc. joined humanitarian organizations and key community stakeholders issued a “Call For Compassion” supporting the release of nonviolent offenders who are currently housed in correctional institutions as a means of protecting souls most susceptible to contracting and succumbing to COVID-19 Pandemic – Men, Women, and juveniles who are nonviolent offenders, would not create public safety issues for the communities they will be returned to, and who are being detained simply because they do not have the financial means to pay their bail.
2020 National Million Father March and The Fathers Literacy Initiative. In 2007, when the late Mr. Phillip Jackson, founder of the National Million Father March (www.blackstarproject.org; www.millionfathersmarch.com) headquartered at the time in Chicago, Illinois, saw the need to have Fathers in Philadelphia join Fathers in hundreds of American cities to take a proactive role in their children’s education, without hesitation, he called on the House of Umoja, Inc. Since 2007, the House of Umoja, Inc. has served as the City of Philadelphia’s leader and organizer for the National Million Father March – a leadership position it continues to hold. The House of Umoja, Inc. encourages Fathers to become proactively involved in their child’s education at the beginning and throughout the academic year. In 2020, under the leadership of the House of Umoja, Inc., the National Million Father March in Philadelphia is placing an intense focus on the academic performance of 4th graders – particularly, their literacy skills – throughout the 2020-2021 academic year which began on Wednesday, 2 September 2020, courtesy of the Fathers Literacy Project. Designed and facilitated by the House of Umoja, Inc., the Fathers ,Literacy Project serves as the conduit for improving the literacy skills of 4th Graders throughout the School District of Philadelphia
2008 – “Think Green Peace” Campaign: A brainchild of the House of Umoja, Inc., the three-tiered “Think Green Peace” Campaign transformed vacant lots into peace gardens that was both a source of beauty and food for communities surrounding it. The peace gardens yielded beautifully hued and fragrant flowers and produced vegetables which addressed hunger and the need for healthy diets. A small deep hole exists at the edge of the peace gardens. It is where members of the communities bury their grief, anger, and sadness. The source of grief, anger or sadness is written about on biodegradable napkins or paper by members of the community which they bring to the peace gardens. During a brief ceremony that is performed, members of the community place the paper or biodegradable napkin that bears their grief, anger, or sadness in the small and deep hole that lies at the edge of the peace garden. The hole is then covered with their dirt. Having buried their grief, anger, and sadness in the peace garden, members of the community return to their homes – relieved of their burden. Youths, adults, and the business community engaged in preparing the vacant lots for planting in the Carroll Park section of West Philadelphia. The First Philadelphia Collard Green Cultural Festival which occurred in July 2008 also constituted one of the many components of the “Think Green Peace” Campaign.
2006 – The Faith Of Our Fathers Peace Campaign: Moving Children To Commit To Nonviolence And Bringing Peace To A City. The surge in violence and gun-related homicides throughout Calendar Year 2005 moved the House of Umoja, Inc. to respond by building on its knowledge from the past. On Sunday, 1 January 2006 – on New Year’s Day – and on Imani which is Swahili for the word “faith” – the last day of Kwanzaa, the House Of Umoja, Inc. launched its Faith Of Our Fathers Peace Campaign with the convening of the 2006 Stay Alive IMANI Youth
Anti-Violence Conference at Pinn Memorial Baptist Church (http://www.pinnmemorial.org) in Philadelphia’s Wynnefield section from 1:00 P.M. through 5:00 P.M. Legislators, parents, grassroots community organizations, Fatherhood Practitioners, the electronic and print media, students from the School District of Philadelphia, educators, social entrepreneurs, and concerned community members attended the conference.
· Bluford Elementary School: The number of serious incidents decreased by 41% in serious incidents.
· Overbrook High School: The number of serious incidents decreased from 202 to 135, reflecting a 33% decrease in serious incidents.
Elementary School: The number of serious incidents decreased by 25%.
· Barry (Shoemaker) Middle School: The number of serious incidents decreased from 84 to 59, reflecting a 30% decrease in serious incidents.
The House Of Umoja, Inc. At 52 -- An Eye On The Future
Having spent half of a century creating Global Models for eradicating violence, fostering community development, creating economic and environmental sustainability by utilizing knowledge from the past, the House of Umoja, Inc. is being looked upon as an institute of learning and a shaper of the future by key community stakeholders and global citizens. At 52, the House of Umoja, Inc. is vibrant and has its eye on the future – the future of the City of Philadelphia and its citizens. What’s next for the House of Umoja, Inc.?
The House Of Umoja Lifelong Learning Campus – Aquaponics, aviation technology, and coding are a sample of course offerings that this institute will offer to students of all ages – particularly, children and youths. Training that provides skills to initiate and develop businesses that serve the needs of the future along with instruction in hydroponic technology that will be implemented to grow vegetables and fish and coding to develop apps and other technological programs for use in today’s and tomorrow’s world will also await students of all ages. The institute will provide cultural enrichment, urban farming programs, entrepreneurial skills training, and prepare community members to successfully navigate the Millennium’s global workplace and provide the community with violence prevention resources.
Urban Agriculture – What will Urban Agriculture look like at the House Of Umoja Lifelong Learning Campus? Provided below are an overview of its components:
- · Community Farm and Garden Market
- · Greenhouse Soil Farming/Propogation
- · Composting Vermiculture and Soil Remediation
- · Rainwater Collection and Green Roofing
- · Native Tree Planting
- · Classrooms and Laboratories
The House of Umoja Lifelong Learning Campus will also offer mixed-used office features that include:
· Jobs and Administration
· Creative spaces for young artists and entrepreneurs
· Aviation Program
· Trauma resources and support for families
· Event space for local entertainment, “meet and greets”, and youth programs
· Coding and app development-focused after school program
· Security Institute (International Rescue Cities)
For the House of Umoja, Inc. and the City of Philadelphia and its citizens, the best is yet to come!
To learn more about the House of Umoja, Inc. and how you can join the House of Umoja, Inc. in co-creating the future, contact Queen Mother Falaka Fattah by calling (215) 473-5893 or by sending an e-mail to: email@example.com. Alternatively, visit the institution’s website at www.houseofumoja.net.