JELYPals: Bridging the Racial Divide

In: Community| Diaspora| Projects| Uncategorized

8 Aug 2012

We live in a society polarized on race, religion, gender, sexuality, and a plethora of other demographics. Although there is much peace and understandings that can come from groups if they just communicated.

JELYPals was born out of these frustrations as seen in the Black and African diasporan community. That is Blacks and Africans in the diaspora and at home whose roots are in the continent of Africa. That’s a wide range of people. While Blacks and Africans in the diaspora may have distinct and unique cultures and backgrounds, there is one common entity we all out share, our race.

Africans and Afro-Americans are groups that need to uplift each other and bridge the rift communities have been socialized too. It’s unfortunate in our society that two groups that share a racial identity, have such negative perceptions of each other and find it so difficult to connect on a social level. JELYPals is an online pen pal system for youth from African and Afro-Americans communities that seeks to bridge this social divide. By cultivating youth at a tender age, the hope is that they strip these negative perceptions as they grow into adulthood.

As young Black and African diasporans, we saw this lack of coexistence between African and Afro American communities. Something we have learned being from these communities and working with these communities is that — they are really not as different as they think. Young African girls in Ghana enjoy listening to Beyonce and Rihanna as much as young Afro-American girls in Pittsburgh. We see pen paling as an opportunity for youth to exchange stories, because once stories are exchanged, themes emerge and individuals start to realize that they have more in common they would have previously perceived.

We hope that this will be an opportunity to inspire youth as they develop understanding for another individuals story.

JELYPals is currently looking for schools and community organizations in African countries to partner with in unifying Afro American and African communities. Requirements for the classroom is that it provide reliable computer and internet access to the youth, youth be between the ages of 8 – 13 and a classroom of boys and girls. If you think you can connect JELYPals with classrooms or are interested in learning more about the project, please email us at info@jelypals.org. Follow @JELYPals on Twitter for our latest updates.

 Disclaimer: The views expressed on this blog post are solely those of the blog post author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of ActivSpaces, other organizations with which ActivSpaces is associated, or other ActivSpaces authors.
kelechi

Posted by kelechi

Kelechi Anyadiegwu is a graduate student at Carnegie-Mellon University in the US. She recently started a project called JELYPals, which is a pen pal system that leverages digital literacy to bridge the cultural divide between Afro-American and African youth. Follow her on Twitter @jadoreKelechi

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This blog is a resource for news, project updates, member profiles and community events at ActivSpaces, an open collaboration space, innovation hub and startup incubator for African techies. Based in Buea, Cameroon.

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