Rev. Jesse Jackson, the charismatic African American Civil Rights Leader on Wednesday 22nd August launched Ujima's Social Enterprise Initiative. Ujima is one of Europe's largest black-led organisation who over the past 30 years have been providing Housing and Care Services for the Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Community.
Ujima Social Enterprise which started operating in April 2007 will create opportunities for the black community by engaging disaffected youth, enabling economically active but socially excluded adults and by enriching the lives of elderly black people in their twilight years.
Driven by an inspirational strategy and bold business plan, Social Enterprise covers a wide array of activities from education in its core boroughs, to development of human capital through to creation of working skills opportunities for all its residents.
Ujima believes that community development is more than just a basket-ball court on an estate or a youth club in town to keep children off the streets. Ujima takes a holistic approach in community development by harnessing the variety of skills in our communities and using technology and information super high way to build new modern strong communities.
As Keith Kerr, CEO of Ujima, explained "black people spend too much time waiting for other people to do things for them". Social Enterprise is about getting black people to take responsibility for themselves and to this end Ujima is committed to giving them a 'hand-up not a hand-out'.
Therefore there is no one more appropriate to launch such a significant initiative in Britain than Rev. Jesse Jackson who has fought valiantly over many years to win the rights and opportunities that so many black people now enjoy in the USA.
Voted last year as the most influential black leader and ranked higher than Condeleezza Rice, Rev. Jesse Jackson has become an icon in Black history.
In a speech Rev. Jackson said, "That while Ujima is giving people a hand-up not a hand-out, we are reaching across the Atlantic to offer our hand in support of such an outstanding innovative initiative."
Rev. Jackson is on a weeklong UK tour which coincides with the 200th anniversary of the abolition of slavery. This has been organised by the 1990 Trust, an organisation involved with informing, developing and analysing government policy as well as articulating the needs and concerns of the minority ethnic groups in Britain.
The 1990 Trust aims to highlight the economic contribution of BME communities around Britain, in the past and the present alike.
With companies like Ujima, the 1990 Trust and respected names such as Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., BME communities are finally turning a corner by helping themselves to bring about positive change.