Black Leadership Re-Defined
(Official AALF Podcast)

Black Thought Leadership

Virtual Town Halls

The African American Leadership Forum (AALF) is a cross-sector network of Black Thought Leaders, Influencers, Builders, and Ambassadors. Our mission is to foster a just society that works better for all Americans by addressing disparities in Economic Development, Health & Wellness, Education, and Family & Culture in the Black community, and convening, supporting and developing the leadership capacity of Black leaders across Minnesota.


Convenings, Gatherings & Forums that Connect Black Leaders. Our events encourage everyone in the community to play a role in taking steps to improve the lives of African Americans. Our We Good? COVID-19 & Black MN virtual town hall is keeping the African American community informed about the impacts of the public health crises. We’re also reshaping the narrative around African American lives, Black leadership, and the Black experience with our weekly podcast: Black Leadership Re-Defined

Collective Impact Initiative: A Black-Centered Approach to Empowering Our Community: Our Collective Impact initiative consists of a Task Force and Workstreams (fellows from our Leadership Academy) who work to tackle some of our community’s most pressing challenges around Economic Development, Health & Wellness, Family & Culture, and Education. Using principles of Human-Centered Design (HCD), and an emerging methodology called Black-Centered Design (BCD), these African American thought leaders and social innovators are bringing real change to the Black community. 

The Josie R. Johnson Leadership Academy:  The Leadership Academy is a year-long hands-on path to personal and professional discovery directed by facilitators, mentors, developmental tools, and experiential learning opportunities. Each fellow builds a vocabulary for articulating their purpose and passion in a way that leads to impactful change. The skills developed through the program serve as a launching pad for exercising leadership in Collective Impact projects. The overall goal of the academy is to accelerate the leadership development journey of emerging African American leaders. 

Empower Black Minnesota

Watch our We Good? Virtual Town Halls

Meet the team

Marcus Owens
Marcus OwensExecutive Director
Kenneth Scales
Kenneth ScalesDevelopment Director
Niila Hebert
Niila HebertSenior Program Director
Ernest Comer III
Ernest Comer IIISenior Program Director
Desralynn Cole
Desralynn ColeSenior Program Director
Adora Land Tolefree
Adora Land TolefreeProgram Director
Shanaya Dungey
Shanaya DungeyVice President of Administration
Marla Etheridge
Marla EtheridgeSenior Program Director

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