In this episode we hear from Gerald Lenoir and Nunu Kidane about their work on bridging African American and African immigrant communities through dialogues. Gerald is OBI’s identity and politics strategy analyst and was the founding executive director of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI). Nunu was a founding member of BAJI and is currently the director of Priority Africa Network.

Gerald and Nunu share their experience facilitating Diaspora Dialogues, which are intentional conversations used to bridge African American and immigrant communities. Listeners will learn how the dialogues are organized and get tips on how to replicate this work.

This episode of Who Belongs? is part of a new series of podcasts focused on telling bridging stories. Throughout the series we’ll talk to leaders implementing bridging work and individuals who have experienced the bridging transformation. This project is led by OBI’s Blueprint for Belonging project (B4B), and hosted by program researcher Miriam Magaña Lopez. This project is funded by The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Inc.


Gerald Lenoir: Those dialogues turned into therapy sessions because people were recounting their experiences with each other. African American's experience feeling rejected by African immigrants, for example or African immigrants feeling rejected by African Americans. But also what came out was some of the positive experiences. What we saw was some healing going on.

Miriam Magaña Lopez: Welcome to today's episode of a new subseries of the podcast Who Belongs? The Othering and Belonging Institute with financial support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation is developing a series of podcasts to capture examples of bridging to belonging. We want a world where everyone belongs. How do we get there? The answer, bridging. Throughout the series, we will talk to leaders implementing bridging work and individuals who have experienced the bridging transformation. My name is Miriam Migana Lopez, and I'll be hosting today's episode.

Miriam Magaña Lopez: Today, we will be speaking with Gerald Lenoir, formerly the founding executive director of Black Alliance for Just Immigration, also known as BAJI, and currently a strategy analyst at the Othering and Belonging Institute. Our second guest is Nunu Kidane, formerly one of the founding board members of BAJI and currently the director of Priority Africa Network. Our guests today will be talking about their work focused on bridging African American and immigrant communities through intentional dialogues. Here's our conversation. Gerald and Nunu, thank you so much for joining us today. To start the conversation, what does bridging mean to you and what led you to pursue bridging work?

Gerald Lenoir: I think Nunu and I are the epitome of bridging. I'm of African American descent, parents coming from Louisiana and Mississippi. Nunu is of Eritrean descent from Ethiopia. We came together around African solidarity and then bridging towards bringing African Americans and Black immigrants and other immigrants into social movement for racial justice and immigrant rights and economic justice. A lot of our work over the last, well, since 2005, at least has been bridging across different racial and immigrant and ethnic communities.

Nunu Kidane: Yeah. Similar to what Gerald said, bridging is, it's a form of connecting. It's building connections where either none existent or connections that have been severed. In our case, we were looking more with making the connections interethnic. While in the mainstream, bridging or racial dialogue is very much in the Black/White binary, we were looking actually internally within the subset of the diverse Black community. Some of whom are Black immigrants and others are African Americans.

Miriam Magaña Lopez: Was there an instance where you figured that this is something that you needed to do? Why did you want to pursue bridging?

Gerald Lenoir: Well, I can just tell you the origin story of BAJI. If thinking back to 2006, there were these huge demonstrations for immigrant rights. In fact, at that time they were the largest demonstrations in the history of the country. One of our co-conspirators, Reverend Kelvin Sauls, wrote an email to several of us who he had been working with to say, "I'm looking out over these crowds across the country and I don't see any Black folks. Where are the Black immigrants? Where are the African Americans?" Another pastor, Reverend Phil Lawson, responded to say, "We need to come together in a meeting to discuss what we're going to do about this." That was the impetus for a group of us, both African Americans and Black immigrants, particularly African immigrants to come together to discuss how are we going to bridge African Americans with these immigrant communities and also bring Black immigrants into dialogue and into the social movement for immigrant rights and racial justice.

Nunu Kidane: There are two ways where Blacks were mentioned in relation to immigration. One was Black people saying, they're taking our jobs. Immigrants are taking our jobs. Then the second was that there was a singular lens through which the term immigrant was being seen, which was largely Latinx or Asian, and almost entirely missing out the presence of Black migrants within that mix.

Miriam Magaña Lopez: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Nunu Kidane: Talking about bridging, we saw, not saw, but we realized in the early years that Black immigrants are the critical bridge to make these connections. It cannot be in a simple narrative of taking jobs and we started having group discussions from our churches to community centers, to talk about how immigration policies impacting immigrant communities and who are the immigrants in general and then bringing in the less of Black migrants within this mix with largely African American communities, but also mixed with African and other Black migrants.

Miriam Magaña Lopez: Thank you so much for that. I want to follow up because we've been talking about bridging and why bridging is important and how it got started. But can you talk to us about when you say you're bridging, what exactly are you doing? What approaches are you taking?

Gerald Lenoir: I'm going to let Nunu talk about the African Diaspora Dialogues, which is one of the key ways that we're doing our bridging work.

Nunu Kidane: The African Diaspora Dialogues is a program under Priority African Network that actually emerged from many of the conversations that Gerald was talking about that came out organically as we were trying to explore ways to bridge these differences. What it is, is it's a space, it's a curated space that's intentionally carved out to have conversations about race and identity between Black migrants and African Americans. We knew that there were differences and recognized that these differences need not mean divisions or should not be seen necessarily in singular or negative narrative. By bringing folks together to talk about their identities, where people come from, how they identify, how they experienced their lives as Black people in the United States, this space, this African Diaspora Dialogues was absolutely critical to helping us understand how diverse these experiences are and that for some, and in fact for good number of Black migrants who come to the United States very much rooted in their identity as Nigerian or Ethiopian or anything but Black/African American.

Nunu Kidane: The transition is not immediate. There has to be a process through which people embrace their racial identity, but their primary identity tends to be a country that's another country, outside the United States. For African Americans to see this, that the primary identity is not racial, was seen very much as a negation of their racial identity and those created differences. That bridging we were talking about was making that dialogue space available to talk about how someone claiming their identity as Nigerian, as their primary identity and not necessarily racial is not a negation of their race, is not a negation of, or a betrayal of the African American history or contribution, that it's a very different way of understanding identity and it was a process. It was not, we recognize from the first time that we started doing this, that it would need to be a process of dialogues rather than a singular space or event where people could have a one-off conversation.

Gerald Lenoir: Part of the goal of these African Diaspora Dialogues is to begin to shape a new Pan-African identity across the different experiences and nationalities. The dialogues were a way for people to find commonality. Oftentimes, those dialogues turned into therapy sessions because people were recounting their experiences with each other. African Americans experience feeling rejected by African immigrants, for example, or African immigrants feeling rejected by African Americans and some of the tensions. But also what came out was some of the positive experiences that we've had with each other. It became a session where it was, we created a space where people felt free to express themselves. What we saw was some healing going on, some really active listening to each other. Oftentimes, people would end up in tears recounting their experiences, both tears of pain, but also tears of joy in entering a space where they felt like they were being seen and heard. In that way, we were able to bring people together. Then, our ultimate goal was to channel people into political action around racial justice and immigrant rights.

Nunu Kidane: One of the spaces where we did some of this work was called the Black Immigration Network. It was a space and a network that was actually, that emerged during Gerald's tenure at BAJI, the Black Alliance for Just Immigration. These were like conferences. These were annual gatherings that were primarily of 100% of Black people, but of immigrant and native born Blacks. We knew that in crafting a common political agenda, in looking at immigration or any other threats to Black communities, we needed to have, to clear the air, so to speak, to make sure that these differences don't emerge in other workshops say, about police brutality or whatever different workshops. We would start with the African Diaspora Dialogues at the very beginning of these sessions to confront and address that there are differences, because I think that was the strength is initially in saying, yes, there are differences. Let's talk about these differences.

Nunu Kidane: What do they mean to you, personally? What do they mean to you for your community? Tell us the stories, the anecdotes. That was incredible release for people to be able to share some of their experiences, some of which were really difficult. But by putting it out there and clearing the air, we were then able to go into these respective workshops and talk about the work that needed to be done to advance our common agenda. We recognized this from the very beginning that you cannot come into a space with assumptions of unity, of racial unity when there are differences that exist that do not get addressed from the very beginning.

Miriam Magaña Lopez: That is a really cool way to start the work, to acknowledge where everyone is starting from and building that bridge before you get down to work. How do you get people to be interested in coming to the room?

Gerald Lenoir: We've conducted these, the African Diaspora Dialogues in a number of setting. We've done it with the Black Student Union at UC Berkeley. We've done it with a faith group in Southern California. We've done it as Nunu said, within the Black Immigration Network, which is a group that was dedicated to immigrant rights and racial justice. We've done it at the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco through an open invitation. It's been a whole range of groups in different settings. What we find is that it's applicable to a whole lot of different settings.

Nunu Kidane: We look at the demographic change across the nation. We know that the numbers, so the population size of Black immigrants is growing. Probably, one of the highest and fastest growing is that of African migrants, but not only. According to one of the studies, I think it was done by BAJI in 2018, the assessment is that 20% of who's considered African American community now are Black migrants. When you have a situation where one in five people who are considered African American are actually Black migrants, meaning they have very different experiences and understanding of their identity, of their place in the United States, of the struggles that they need to be a part of, there needs to be strategies to bridge these connections. It cannot just be assumed that if you're Black, it's in your DNA to understand that the rights of White supremacy is going to be a threat to you and your community and you need to join the struggle.

Nunu Kidane: There are communities that live and work in clusters of their primary identities. Many of them are groups that we work with, with Priority African at work, Nigerian communities, Ethiopian, Eritrean communities that live and work and worship in clusters of their ethnic identities, their primary identities. You cannot have an outreach process where you convene, "Black communities" and assuming everyone is included because there are communities that are excluded, if not by design than by default, because you're not looking at ways to outreach to communities that you assume are included because they're black, but they're actually not coming to the spaces where the struggle that includes them and impacts them, they need to be part of, but they're not getting the messages. That's part of the reason when Gerald talks about ways of inclusion of making sure that we forge a common agenda, knowing who the people are, where they worship, where they socialize and how to craft the message in ways that make sense to them.

Miriam Magaña Lopez: I'm also curious, I understand that the work that BAJI has also done has included bridging Latino immigrants with African Americans. Why is this work important and connected to the broader mission?

Gerald Lenoir: Because I think that from the very beginning of BAJI, what we understood was that the struggle for immigrant rights, the broad immigrant rights is intimately connected with the struggle against racial justice that has been on the African American agenda since we were put in chains and brought to the United States and that the immigrant rights movement and struggle is just another front in that struggle against White supremacy. In that, if we wanted to address our struggle, African Americans wanted to be victorious in our struggle against White supremacy, we had to join the folks who had the same struggle. Part of that is, how do we connect with the immigrant rights movement and how do we create opportunities for dialogue across those different communities so that we can find our common stories and common humanity. That's what we set out to do with the African communities and with Latinx communities in particular. Those are the two communities that we've focused on and Latinx immigrant community being the largest group of immigrants. Spanish speaking immigrants being the largest with Mexicans being the largest within that.

Gerald Lenoir: We began to do some bridging work with those communities. We felt that, that was critically important because there're again, tensions across our communities with African Americans feeling in many cases that Latinx people were taking our jobs. That anti-Black racism was impeding relationships. On the Latinx side, falling into a negative narrative about African Americans oftentimes, not all Latinx immigrants, but a narrative that was pretty dominant, that was that African Americans are lazy, they're criminals. Trying to address those negative dynamics and stereotypes on both sides and really looking at how we can create some space for people to come together and experience each other, and understand each other and have empathy for each other. To, and to understand what are similar experiences with economic domination in racism, has brought us to this point.

Nunu Kidane: You remember, Gerald, I can't remember when it was, but one of the outcomes of these conversations about racism, we were constructing it primarily as African American, Latinx relations, but one of the outcomes was listening to our Latinx allies telling us about the colorism that exists within the Latinx community. How the colonial framework had these hierarchies of almost total negation of the presence of Blacks, Black Mexicans, or Venezuelans and Honduras and Panama. It's almost as if they do not exist.

Gerald Lenoir: Yeah.

Nunu Kidane: This was one of the outcomes of the conversation that was so profoundly moving is that people are coming with pre, with concepts of race long before they even come to the United States of that construction, is influencing their notions of who African Americans are. These are much needed conversations that needed to be done then, but need also to continue to be had now. That this is not something that is solely of U.S. making, but that it's a global phenomena from colonialism that has existed, that continues to influence our understandings of race and identity.

Miriam Magaña Lopez: Can you tell me of a bridging story that you're proud of?

Gerald Lenoir: In 2009, I was invited to Newark, New Jersey by a group called Ironbound Community Corporation. They had been in the community for dozens of years doing economic development, and they had just started a community organizing project, organizing a lot of environmental justice. They were bringing together new immigrants, Latinx immigrants from Mexico and Central America with African Americans living in the projects. Now, Ironbound Community is a historic African American community in Newark and Latinx immigrants were coming in. African Americans were feeling like they were taking over their geographic space, that they had no connection to them whatsoever and were very suspicious of them. Ironbound Community Corporation asked me to come in and help them figure out how to bridge those different communities. What we did was, I organized with them a Black History Month event, and they organized 25 African Americans who lived in the projects to come to this event.

Gerald Lenoir: We showed a 30-minute film on the African American migration from Mississippi to Chicago during World War I. That set the stage for the experience of Jim Crow segregation, and racist violence in the South. Then, what African American migrants found when they got to Chicago, the blatant discrimination and racism in the housing and in job market and in, and so that's what the film depicted. I shared my family's migration experience from New Orleans to Los Angeles during World War II, with the same themes in mind about what they faced in New Orleans and what they faced when they got to LA. Then I asked people in the audience, again, African Americans from the projects to talk about their family's migration history. It became a cathartic session because oftentimes we, as African Americans leave that history of the South behind us. We don't talk about it because some of it is so painful.

Gerald Lenoir: Then, so it became cathartic. It became, people just really pouring their hearts out about what their families, what they experienced and if they were direct migrants, what their families experienced. Then we talked about race, immigration and globalization and how racism and economic globalization has impacted all our communities and forced migration and drew the parallel between the African American migration and immigration. It was like light bulbs went off in the room. People were coming up to me afterwards, thanking me profusely. Then, what the organizers reported to me afterwards were those same African Americans who would complain about how long the meetings take in their Environmental Justice Program, because they had to do a translation for that next folks. They were now champions for, we need to have good translation so we can understand what folks are saying. Then, on the Latinx side, they did some workshops on the history of the African American community in Newark.

Gerald Lenoir: Now, African Americans began showing up to demonstrations against the building of a new immigrant detention center in Essex County. Just understanding that history and connecting the migration stories, really brought these groups together in a way that just saying that we're all impacted by environmental injustice, and we need to come together, there's a deeper bond that was able to be formed. That is really the essence of bridging, is how do you create a shared humanity, a shared story, and a shared future. I can tell you that I have been transformed by this work, personally, in terms of deep empathy and a deep sense of blurring the lines between our communities and really feeling a part of a larger identity and really beginning to understand the experience of immigrants and taking, and always looking at how I can understand even better and listening. Deep, deep listening is really a critical skill in terms of bridging.

Miriam Magaña Lopez: How do you know when your bridging work is done?

Gerald Lenoir: Well, we'll know when our bridging work is done when there's social and economic justice for all of us, where there is a true sense of belonging in this country, where people have agency and everyone has what they need to thrive. This bridging work is ongoing. It's never done. It's never done. We have so much work to do in relationship to just what Nunu was talking about in terms of creating this new Pan-African identity. That work is ongoing. Bridging across differences with Latinx and Asian in native communities, all of this work has to be done on an ongoing basis and I don't see an end to it.

Nunu Kidane: Back in 2006, at the formation of BAJI, within a year or two, we had seen such enormous change with the communities we were directly working with. With the African American community, with the African communities in terms of how the change of attitude, the sense of people feeling and connecting. We were so hopeful that, hey, 10 years from now, we will have had enormous, impactful, measurable changes. Then 2016 happened with an overt White supremacist language at the very top and you recognize that you cannot be complacent about these things. That the enormity of the work is, as Gerald says, it's not going to be done, but that we need to be a lot more vigilant in making sure that the work continues to happen at every level. At the grassroots community level, in the churches, in the community centers, but also at institutional level and also at policy level. Yeah. It's never done, but I think we definitely need to enhance it in ways that reach more people and make it a little bit more impactful.

Miriam Magaña Lopez: You both have done incredible bridging work across the country through dialogues. For listeners who may be interested in implementing this framework, can you outline how someone can replicate this work?

Gerald Lenoir: Some of the work that I'm doing at the Othering and Belonging Institute is around bridging and belonging. We have a curriculum designed around these notions of bridging and belonging and can support groups in understanding the concepts. We are in the process of developing case studies that includes the BAJI case study so that people understand in different contexts how people across the country are doing bridging work. They can contact us at the Othering and Belonging Institute. We also, Nunu and I are still also doing African Diaspora Dialogues. Nunu has developed some pointers on how to facilitate the dialogues.

Nunu Kidane: Yeah. Thanks to COVID, we've had to be a little bit more innovative to see how this would work on Zoom, because typically the way the dialogues happen are in the ways that we've done the work always in the past. You convene the community, we have well-crafted process with facilitators that have done this. Primarily, Gerald and I, but also our colleagues within Othering and Belonging and BAJI and PAN that have done this, to convene people. You sit in a particular way in a circle, a half circle, make eye contact, body language. We very carefully crafted this for in-person convenings and knew how to measure the temperature as things get heated, and when to spark a conversation that gets everybody included and all that. But we've had to move into online spaces and that hasn't been easy, but we've crafted a process to see how that works.

Nunu Kidane: We're enormously grateful for the resources at Othering and Belonging, because a lot of the techniques and the lessons from other communities on how to bridge these, the tools and the process that have been enormously helpful. We now conduct them online, but there's also a process of making sure that people know what to expect when they come in, how to prepare ahead of time, how to continue the conversations offline, confidentiality, making sure that what people share, sometimes very intensely personal traumatic experiences remain in confidence. These are all very carefully... We approach them with care because it really is about bringing people together and making sure that they feel comfortable. What Gerald was saying earlier about listening. I mean, that's one of the key points is, a lot of times when you bring people together, they've got this anecdote that they want to share.

Nunu Kidane: They've got the story, they've got this idea so they're not listening with their full presence. They're there to tell you and not to listen to you. We make sure that there is really good, intentional, respectful listening. Without listening to one another, it's not a dialogue, it's a monologue and you never achieve anything with monologues. We continue them, but hopefully after the pandemic, we can go back to the way we were doing things, because there's nothing as in-person conversations, even though we have the template and people can do their own conversations in their respective spaces, whether it's university or work spaces and all that. We're happy to share this. It's almost as an open sharing platform, as long as people acknowledge where the work is and that they're using it in ways that are respectful of the work and the history that has gone into it.

Miriam Magaña Lopez: Yeah. I really resonate with all the work that you're doing. I'm an immigrant myself from my Mexico. I came to the United States when I was five. As you're talking and sharing your stories, I'm thinking about instances when I was in high school of moments where I think bridging could have been helpful.

Nunu Kidane: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Miriam Magaña Lopez: Realizing that the immigrants like myself who came here at a young age, who spoke English, were very different than Latino immigrants who came when they were in high school, middle school age, and were still learning how to speak English. There was definitely a disconnect in the way that we talked about Latinos in my school, was very disconnected. As a high school student who may be experiencing this, what are things that I could have done to start the dialogues as you have been describing?

Gerald Lenoir: Well, I think probably one way is to begin a dialogue, a one-on-one dialogue with people in your class to really try to formulate how to address whatever the breaking narratives are in a school or in the space that you're in, and slowly build a group that has some understanding of the issue and wants to do something about it. That's really the start is being an organizer.

Miriam Magaña Lopez: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Gerald Lenoir: And really trying to dissect the issue and the problem before you try to address it. That's what I would say. I think we've got some tremendous organizing in our high schools across the country. I think that if we can bring these kinds of bridging dialogues in all levels of our educational system and in our communities, I think we could go a long way in terms of addressing some of the false narratives and some of the tensions that are in our communities.

Miriam Magaña Lopez: Thank you so much.

Nunu Kidane: Yeah. High school is an interesting age, because looking at some of the middle and high schoolers that are in our community of Nigerian or Eritrean or Ethiopian parentage, they're at that age where they're coming to recognize and own fully their Blackness, but they're also living in communities where they're grounded in their culture. Families are insisting, no, you're not Black. You are Nigerian, or Yoruba, Hausa, Eritrean, and all that. They're just at that age where they need to understand their own identity and be comfortable with the fact that they could be both and not feel conflicted.

Nunu Kidane: But how they're perceived, particularly, I think the kids, the students with, from Nigeria or Ethiopia with funny names, kids can be really harsh in terms of making fun of their names or that they don't fit. It's a really funny age where you're not comfortable with your body and your social networking, but you're also looking for acceptance. A lot of times, I think, conflicts happen because of what you're saying, that you're looking to identify and to feel comfortable in a space, and you're not feeling accepted and you don't feel like you belong and you're being pushed to the periphery. Work with students is, I agree, really, really critical. It needs to be done and handled with care.

Miriam Magaña Lopez: Awesome. You've both mentioned different groups who've used this framework, advocacy, students, et cetera. Who do you think would benefit from implementing a bridging framework in their work?

Gerald Lenoir: Well, I think you can benefit from bridging in any setting. In a work setting, in a school setting, in advocacy group setting, any nonprofit setting. I think it has widespread application. Our goal has been to use it building a social movements, and it's been extremely useful in that, but I think it can be used in any type of setting. But some of the issues that come up in different settings is perhaps power differentials. In a work setting, one of the power differentials that perhaps impede people from really opening up and becoming very frank in relationship to the issues that they face that are barriers to bridging.

Gerald Lenoir: In our dialogues, we really talk about the barriers to bridging and some of the negative experiences people have had with each other. That could be hard in a situation where there's power differentials. Where someone that is, for example, in a work situation where your supervisor or your boss is part of that dialogue, it's hard to be pretty frank oftentimes. I think having said that though, I think bridging dialogue and bridging techniques can be useful in any setting.

Nunu Kidane: There are demographic changes that are happening across the nation. There are more black people that are now in the United States that have come since the 1970s, that have come since the transatlantic slave trade. There is presence, large populations that do not trace their ancestry necessarily to the transatlantic slave trade, nor have lived through generationally with Jim Crow, but everyone is being impacted by racism. That's just the nature of the profound reality of being Black in America. When we look at bridging and influencers, positions of influence and change, we look at African American institutions, nationally. There has to be recognition that the term African American is not necessarily inclusive of all Black communities, primarily Black migrants who don't see that term inclusive of them. It's not an exclusion by design, but it is a term where people feel they're not included.

Nunu Kidane: When there is an outreach on COVID or, as Gerald was giving the example earlier about voting and you're targeting Black communities, how do you know the Black migrant communities are being reached? Who are they? Where are they? How do we have an intentional outreach and bridge building, so they feel included? It's not just changing the term African American to black communities. It's more than that. It's about intentional bridge building, relationship building where these differences are acknowledged, but they need not be differences of division. That they, if you are doing outreach for black voters in Georgia and you know there's a large Haitian community, there's a large Nigerian community, you don't use the same tools of outreach that you do for African American communities. It's about changes that need to happen in outreach and design by large African American communities that are well-resourced to reach the majority of Black folk, but are not reaching Black migrants. That needs to be recognized. That needs to be addressed as a, as a gap. What does a bridge building look like, needs to be a conversation that is had at a larger level.

Miriam Magaña Lopez: Thank you so much. We're close to it being time to end the conversation. I wanted an end with the question is of, what is the future that you envision for this work?

Gerald Lenoir: Well, I think we want to spread the gospel of bridging. I get calls all the time. I got a call the day of maybe a couple of weeks ago from a group in Nebraska who were trying to bridge African American in Black immigrant communities. They were calling me in my capacity as the Othering and Belonging Institute and wanted to know more about this bridging framework. I was able, because of my experiences with BAJI and Priority Africa Network, was able to have a discussion with them about our African Diaspora Dialogues. Really just supporting groups on the ground that are trying to do this bridging work and increasingly folks, because our communities are becoming so diverse, they're having to address the tensions across communities or the lack of connection, if not tension across our communities, as they try to do their work to impact social policy. I think that the future really is for us to continue to support groups across the country and, and also to bring our experiences to bear, and to give them the benefit of our knowledge and experience.

Nunu Kidane: Yeah. The hope that I have for this is that we would not only continue to work on it, but that we need to continue to work in collaboration with organizations that share the vision. There are three targets. One is the African communities, and there are numerous communities across the country that convene and work directly with communities. That conversation needs to happen at that level. It needs to happen with African Americans, as I was saying, not just communities, but institutions. Then the third arm of that are philanthropic entities. This work is deserving of, to be an institution by itself. We have incubated it for the love of the work and the passion that we've had for a long, long time, but I think it needs to grow and it has enormous potential realizing the diversity that is happening within the Black community, because it's not homogeneous.

Nunu Kidane: The Black community is incredibly diverse, has always been diverse in terms of class and other factors. But it's now diverse because people from many, many different countries are coming in and recognizing, and being recognized and captured on the census as Black, but not necessarily identifying as such. They need to be embraced into the family and that has to be an intentional strategy. It's not going to be by default. I have enormous hope of where it's going, but Gerald and I are committed to this work and we'll continue to do it without a doubt.

Miriam Magaña Lopez: That was Gerald Lenoir and Nunu Kidane. Thank you for your time. To our listeners, check out our other podcasts where we explore other cases and discuss belonging and bridging in more detail. For more resources and curriculums, please go to slash, letter B, number four, letter B. Until next time.