Welcome To Sankofa Community Connection

Donate to our Self Care Retreat December 21, 2021

Your donation will enable us to host a Self-Care retreat for young black and brown women. We will teach them how they can better their mind, body, and spirit

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Our Value Statement-

At Sankofa Community Connection, we strive to disrupt inequalities and injustice within our community and schools. Through our work, we will continue to bring awareness, encouragement and education to empower our community members that are not often heard. 

Our Mission-

To increase pride of place within the African American Community of Newport County , through a community-led initiative with  3 main focus areas: 1. Community events and gatherings to increase our social cohesion 2. Community Meetings where we discuss  the impact of institutional racism and racial oppression to promote dialogue and create solutions to the issues  3. Historical Education to reveal, honor and celebrate the cultural heritage of African Americans of early Newport.

Our Vision-

Since its inception, Sankofa Community Connection has inspired a change for the better in the community and is often sought out for its expertise in culturally relevant programming, educational materials and consultant services by community members, schools and various organizations.


 Board of Directors 

Ellen Pinnock- President

Nycole Matthews - Vice President

Jazmine Wray- Secretary

Mrs. Joyce Watts

Darthula Mathews

Melanie McKinney

Amy McKinney

Susan Kenny

Mary Vieira  

Niko Merritt- Founding Executive Director  

Julie DiBari, CEO The Capacity Group- Advisor



Collaborative & Innovative

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Doing What’s Needed

Through our Community Building for Social Cohesion,  we work to build real connections within the African American Community. Social Cohesion is defined as "the glue that holds society together. ... A cohesive society is one where people are protected against life risks, trust their neighbors and the institutions of the state and can work towards a better future for themselves and their families".  These events and gatherings have the potential to make a real and positive change in the community. This is one of our key areas of focus here at Sankofa Community Connection.

  • Day of Renewal: A Celebration of African American Culture and Diversity

  • Black Panther Challenge

  • Black Panther Paint Party

  • Handshake Initiative

  • Community Events

  • Salve Regina Community Learning Partner- Project for restorative justice in Middle School

  • African Heritage Diet


Tackling the Issue

Sankofa Community Connection creates "brave spaces" and opportunities to have these difficult discussions. Participants are heard and hopefully leave the room with new information and perspectives. Most of our community discussions were held at Gather on Broadway, we participated in panels, spoke at rallies and other discussion groups to uplift the topic of race.

  • Community discussions at Gather- Sankofa Action Sessions

  • Panels after movies at a local movie theater.

  • Screening of the 13th Amendment.

  • Public Narrative story circle based on the works of Marshall Ganz of Harvard University (it is woven from three elements: a story of self, a story of us, and a story of now).



To increase pride of place within the African American Community of Newport County

  • African American Walking tours of Newport

  • Developing a History Curriculum for Elementary, Middle and high school.

  • After school programs- History & Culture Club.

  • An opportunity to do weekly segments on the Radio, sharing historical facts about the African American Community of Newport County.




@ Newport Community School- Thompson Middle School

We will introduce cultural local history in a way that directly involves the students and makes their surroundings more relevant. It will also serve to provide a perspective on how various cultures lived in early Newport that is not often seen.  Students will participate in a walking tour of Newport RI, could create an app that will guide others on the tour, participate in an excavation and archaeology lessons, create art that reflects their experience, take field trips and many other exciting activities.

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African American Walking Tour of Newport

Putting African Americans BACK
In to Newport, RI History
Although African Americans have been all but erased from the historical landscape, ongoing research is retelling their stories using documents such as The Newport Mercury, deeds, probate records, diaries, wills, birth and death records, church records, oral histories, and archaeological studies. In the 19th Century, West Broadway became an important African American neighborhood. Many of us pass this area on a regular basis and are not aware of it’s history and success stories. Sankofa Community Connection is actively working with community members, Dr. Akeia Benard and Niko Merritt, to bring about awareness.


@Gather on Broadway

As Sankofa Community Connection, we have been able to successfully engage the community in meetings by holding open community sessions to discuss relevant issues and create plans of action to both empower our community and build lasting, positive, grassroots social movement in our city.
SCC Action Sessions ["SCCAS"] is composed of a diverse, non-partisan group of individuals united in concern and committed to community organizing and direct action to end racism, xenophobia, misogyny, environmental destruction, and bigotry in our community. We are committed to collaboratively developing and engaging in actions that improve life where we live. Any discussions we have are oriented toward that goal.

To do so, SCCAS takes care to foreground the perspectives and expert commentary from historically marginalized groups. All voices are welcome at SCCAS, especially those who do not typically receive supportive reception in more official outlets. As such, SCCAS is open to anyone, but not for everyone. SCCAS is committed to not merely being non-racist, but anti-racist in its goals, actions, and procedures.

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Sankofa Community Connection