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Harambee

African-American Youth "Working Together" in the Archdiocese of Baltimore

Harambee (Ha-rum-bay) is Swahili for "to work together." The Harambee Organization was established in 1984 as a ministry to, for and with African American youth. This ministry recognizes the specific and unique needs of African American youth and centers on three particular aspects of outreach:

  • Spiritual Enrichment
  • Cultural Enrichment
  • Leadership Development

The purpose and intent of the Harambee Organization is a sharing of the many resources within the African American Catholic Community. Our outreach to the youth within our parishes, schools and communities is best described in the following ways:

To reinforce the value of our cultural heritage, and to consider ways of developing and integrating our culture within our parish youth group, schools and communities.

To share and experience ways in which spirituality can become more relevant to today's African American youth whether it be with their parish youth group, school or community.

To integrate the cultural, educational, social and spiritual dimensions of youth ministry into the lives of African American youth either through their parish youth group, school and community.

To design and implement strategies for leadership development and full participation in parish, school and community activities.

Harambee's goals are consistent with the Pastoral Letter on Evangelization from our Black Shepherds of the United States (What We Have Seen and Heard), to integrate the cultural, educational, social and spiritual dimensions of youth ministry into the lives of African American youth either through their parish youth group, school or community center. The backbone of Harambee's ministry draws exclusively from the seven principals of the Nguzo Saba for they truly give African American people a set of standards and goals to live by on a daily basis. These same principals have been adopted by the National Black Catholic Congress in its follow-up program entitled "Rise Up and Re-Build." Each of Harambee's programs focus on one or more of the principals which are brought into focus in the Pastoral Letter to African American youth by Archbishop James Lyke in 1990.

History

Under the Harambee Organization banner, youth and adults in ministry to African American youth of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, have been working together to provide enrichment activities to encourage and inspire cultural awareness, educational excellence and spiritual development. As a product of this effort, The Harambee Choir was formed in August 1993 with the intentional purpose of demonstrating "what can be...when praising God...is the priority. This choir composed of over 50 African American youth, representing various denominations of faith, including 11 Catholic parishes and five schools.  During its 13 year tenure, The Harambee Choir had been blessed with numerous opportunities to sing throughout the Archdiocese of Baltimore including concerts in Boston, MA; Louisville, KY, Wilmington; DE, Harrisburg, PA; Washington, D.C.; Brooklyn, NY; Miami, FL, Memphis, TN; Cleveland, OH; and Birmingham and Montgomery, AL. The Harambee Choir was directed and accompanied by two Catholic University Graduates: Ms. Kenyatta Hardison and Mr. Brandon Paylor along with Mr. Jimmy McBrown on percussions.

For more information about the Harambee Organization, please contact the Office of African-American Catholic Ministries.

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