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ACLP April 2021 Newsletter

Dear ACLP Community,

I founded African Community Learning Program (ACLP) along with my husband Abdoul Wane in the summer of 2017, and we have both served as president and vice-president, respectively since then. On Friday, April 30, 2021, we will no longer serve in those positions, instead remaining on ACLP’s board to guide the next leaders of the organization once we resume our activities in May 2023.

The 2020-2021 school year has been filled with challenges and uncertainties due to the COVID-19 global pandemic and racial unrest. The pandemic has shifted education systems on the local, national, and international levels along with how we live our lives. These challenges have impacted ACLP, its leaders, students, and partners in unexpected ways, including all participants’ lives – personal, academic, and professional – as well as the organization’s current and future management. In response to these changes, ACLP will pause all of its activities from Friday, April 16, 2021 to April 2023 to clarify our focus, goals, and direction.

Still, our team members have remained resolved in their efforts to advance ACLP’s mission to educate, connect, empower, and support people of African background in West Philadelphia, and the organization adapted to the COVID-19 virtual world to carry out this work. ACLP’s 2020-2021 theme was “Preparing the Future through Education, Excellence, and Justice.” We ran ACLP from May 15, 2020 to April 16, 2021 and stayed productive throughout.

ACLP expanded and restructured its team by creating additional task-specific positions to execute our work more efficiently. We recruited excellent candidates, most of whom were undergraduate students at the University of Pennsylvania and some graduate students from American University. We went from a team of 5 to 24 during the school year, with 14 comprising the Board of Directors and Leadership Team; every member volunteered and coordinated virtually. We thank all of our team members, students, parents, partners, supporters, and donors for making this school year meaningful for the lives of those involved and beyond. Below are many of ACLP’s key accomplishments during the 2020-2021 school year.

Team Engagement

  • Conducted 10 virtual board meetings from June 2020 to January 2021

  • Held 18 virtual meetings for the entire meet

  • Hosted three professional development sessions on resume building, work-life balance, the history of racism in America and ACLP's work to address educational injustice

  • Held three one-on-one professional development sessions for graduate school, scholarship, and apprenticeship applications

  • Wrote 13 letters of recommendations for team members’ applications to national and international graduate schools, internships, apprenticeships, jobs, and scholarships

  • Organized an end-of-year, socially distant team gathering to interact in-person

Curriculum and Teaching

  • Provided a total of $750 in scholarships to three students through the ACLP Future Scholars Program

  • Created a new virtually tailored, culturally responsive African-centered college preparatory curriculum

  • Produced and offered nine lessons on college preparation for the Fall 2020 semester

  • Targeted 15 students, recruited 5 Future Scholars, and taught three lessons

  • Created a list of 20 empowering African diaspora individuals in February 2021 for Black History Month, celebrating them on different ACLP digital platforms

  • Created a list of 20 African diaspora individuals in March 2021 for Women’s History Month, celebrating them across ACLP digital platforms

  • Wrote a total of 47 articles and published them on ACLP blog including for our #500EmpoweringAfricanStories project, student advice content, and resources for high schoolers to succeed in college, and team members profiles

  • Conducted extensive research for all aspects of ACLP’s work, including curriculum development

Community Engagement

  • Launched our newsletter “ACLP’s Got News” on August 11, 2021 to stay connected with the larger ACLP community and decision-makers in the lives of students in Philadelphia public schools

  • Published a total of 8 newsletters from August 2020 to April 2021

  • Created a brand book to unify ACLP’s communications

  • Wrote, designed, and published a 60-page ACLP 2017-2019 annual report

Digital Engagement

  • Designed and launched a new website on Wednesday, July 29, 2020 tailored to high school students to help them prepare for college

  • Created content and posted weekly on Facebook and Instagram to share educational information with high school students and to celebrate African diaspora people and our team members

  • Launched ACLP Instagram page @weareaclp on August 3, 2020

Policy Work

  • Wrote two policy documents in Fall 2020 titled “Culturally Responsive Teaching Recommendations for SDP Equity Coalition” and “A Struggle for Racial Equity in Philadelphia Public Schools” and sent them to Philadelphia public officials

  • Wrote a white paper in Spring 2021 with recommendations titled “Culturally Responsive Teaching Practices for Immigrant Students and English Learners in Public Schools” and plan to send the document to Mayor Jim Kenney


  • Completed three grant applications, received two, and hosted two fundraising events

  • Created an annual operating budget, prepared a corporate sponsorship packet, wrote a business plan, and two grant reports

  • Compiled a database of potential foundations, corporate sponsors, and donors


  • Penn Libraries Community Engagement

  • Paul Robeson High School

  • American University School of Public Affairs

  • Douty Foundation

  • Hilles Foundation

  • Wesley Proctor Ministries

  • Netter Center

Long-term Sustainability

  • Positioned the organization for long-term sustainability by setting a solid institutional foundation with structural tools, policies, practices, documents, and connections

  • Prepared institutional documents for different management areas of the organization

  • Wrote bylaws for the organization’s management

  • Created G-suite account for ACLP’s emails and document storage

  • Filed for 2020 taxes and paid for 2021, 2022, and 2023

  • Planned to pay for ACLP website until 2023

Honors and Awards

  • Honored with 15 Philadelphia mayoral citations for ACLP’s work and its leaders’ contributions and ACLP’s 3rd anniversary recognized by the City of Philadelphia on November 18, 2021

  • Raised the Senegal flag at Philadelphia City Hall for the first time in the City’s history on November 18, 2021

  • Featured in Chalkbeat Philadelphia and its affiliates around the United States, 34th Street Magazine, Penn Libraries Community Engagement, and Philadelphia Office of Immigrant Affairs’ social media

  • Interviewed as a KYW Newsradio ChangerMaker

To all the people who made these accomplishments possible, thank you so much! May we remain safe and healthy during these challenging times. May we continue to serve with love and care. With your support, we intend to continue ACLP’s work.

With deep gratitude,

Aminata Sy

Founder & President

African Community Learning Program

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