Sankofa Reflection 2023: Learning From the Past

The creative concept of a Sankofa historical journey initiated by Transform Minnesota has profoundly and invigoratingly impacted the collaboration among pastors in Minnesota. Sankofa, a word from the Akan language of Ghana meaning “to go back and get it,” represents, in the context of Transform Minnesota, a commitment to revisiting and learning from the past to bridge the gap toward a better future in our local communities. This initiative has both challenged and transformed the way pastors and faith leaders in Minnesota work together in harmony. It encourages individuals to reflect on both historical and contemporary issues, especially the painful and troubling aspects of American history. Sankofa calls for the removal of blinding barriers and “scales from our eyes” to gain a clearer understanding of our history.

The history of America is indeed hurtful, sad, and alarming, with deep-rooted issues in systemic racism and cultural oppression. Sankofa has opened our eyes to lynching, mass incarceration, and the persisting legacy of the Confederacy. It provides a platform to confront these painful historical truths and work towards a more just and equitable future. Transform Minnesota’s staff has played an impeccable role in coordinating various aspects of this initiative and journey, such as flights, transportation, sites, information, schedules, and dietary needs. This level of support has allowed participants to focus on the transformative experience and live in the moment rather than getting caught up in logistical concerns.

In conclusion, the Sankofa initiative by Transform Minnesota has provided an opportunity to delve into the challenging aspects of American history. Transform Minnesota’s leadership, guidance, and support made this experience truly unique and impactful. Sankofa is a powerful vehicle for acknowledging and learning from the past, with the hope of creating a more inclusive and just future.

Thank you, Transform Minnesota, for your dedication and commitment to our communities.

Suffragan Bishop David E. Johnson is the Senior Pastor at Grace Apostolic Church in Minnetonka. He is also the founder of three impactful organizations: A Touch of Grace Barbershop, Generation Grace Academy, and Mind the G.A.P.P. Inc. He serves in various capacities, including Chairman of the Minnesota Wisconsin Dakotas District Council and Board Member of The International Missions Department of the P.A.W. Inc. His family, supported by his wife, the Elect Lady Tesa F. Johnson, plays an integral role in the ministry, collectively striving to spread the message of faith and salvation. 

November 13, 2023