Skip to main content

Building a Connected Community of Leaders

Learn more about AALF and its work building strong community leaders in this present moment.

Marcus Owens, executive director of the African American Leadership Forum (AALF), speaks about the economic and social impacts of recent events on the Black community, and shares how AALF continues to engage emerging Black leaders to create spaces for economic growth, leadership development and healing.

“It’s really about community,” says Marcus. ”We have to get out of this idea that there is a monolithic leader that will move us forward. If you look back at the days of the Civil Rights movement, when we had Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcom X, and many others that were prominent and vocal leaders — there were so many other people around them that led and did things behind the scenes that moved that movement forward. We have to see ourselves in this moment right now that everyone has a role to play.”

One way AALF builds leaders is through the Josie R. Johnson Leadership Academy.

“The Academy is really about saying, how do we invest in the leadership of our community? ‘These are the emerging leaders, whether they’re emerging because they’re young, or emerging because they found a new way to lead in community?’”

Keep the Stories Coming

Stay connected with stories about how people across the state of Minnesota are responding to This Present Moment with generosity, compassion, courage and creativity.

More Stories

Read Art as Healing

Art as Healing

White Bear Center for the Arts is on a mission to create healing during the pandemic.

Read his interview
Read Partnerships That Shine

Partnerships That Shine

Deb Foster, executive director of the Ain Dah Yung Center, shares how collective visions can lead to positive outcomes for youth.

Read her post
Read Brownbody


Artists develop the score to Tracing Sacred Steps, which Brownbody initially presented in April 2019 as a work-in-progress.

Watch the video
Read Indigenous Roots

Indigenous Roots

A new mural in Saint Paul celebrates four Twin Cities multicultural women dancers and the strength, beauty & power we hold when uniting our communities together.

Watch the video
Read Penumbra Theatre

Penumbra Theatre

Penumbra company member Hannibal Lokumbe composed an original score for a video in tribute to George Floyd and all of the victims of state-sanctioned violence. Sarah Bellamy wrote the narrative and she and Lou Bellamy provide the voice overs.

Watch the video
Read Gizhiigin Arts Incubator

Gizhiigin Arts Incubator

Artists Clyde Estey, Jr., and Kent Estey collaborate on a work reflective of their shared artistic upbringing in the White Earth Nation.

View the photos
Watch Generosity Video

Generosity: It's How You Give

In this video message, Dr. Jolly shares stories that have shaped his life and forever altered his views on generosity.

Watch Dr. Jolly
Read Foundation Welcomes Cheniqua Johnson and Gina Suarez Reyes

Foundation Welcomes Cheniqua Johnson and Gina Suarez Reyes

New positions create pathway for future leadership in philanthropy dedicated to strengthening communities.

Read the News



* Indicates a required field