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May, 2009 Volume 7

Thomas Mwicigi Thank you Letter from AIM

One People… By Gerald Montgomery

Sign Up! Next Volunteer Event… Feed My Starving Children Job Listings

AIDS Walk Pictures

CEO of Uhuru Clothing…talks about his Freedom & Passion

Dear Friends,    We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks for all your support over the past few  months. The Red 10 events held May 16th to May 17th were a great success.     The  Red  Affair,  which  was  held  on  May  16th  2009,  was  indicative  of  how  young  people can come together and show support for a good cause.  The night was filled  with  positive  vibes  and  music  played  by  DJ’s  from  different  African  countries.  Thank you to all the DJs who showed up that night to show their support.    Although you would expect that people would be too tired to show up for the walk  to be held on May 17th 2009 after a hard night of partying, we had about 50 people  show  up  bright  and  early,  ready  to  take  on  the  10k  walk.  The  Tiyumba  Dance  Company  and  Central  do  Brasil  Capoeira  Group  provided  drumming,  dancing  and  singing during the whole walk, which kept the morale of the Red 10 walkers going.  The weekend was capped off by a wonderful barbecue catered by Tuma’s Catering.    All in all we were able to raise over $4300 towards the MN AIDS project! Thanks to  the help of Africa Health Action (AHA), we were also able to get 25 people tested!!    Below  is  a  list  of  the  sponsors  who  showed  their  support  that  we  would  like  to  recognize for their efforts in making this weekend possible:    • Red 10 Committee  • Sam the designer   • African Health Action (AHA)  • Accents Telecom  • Tuma's Catering  • Tam Tam's Restaurant  • FROST by Kenny    We intend to make this an annual event so be on the lookout for the next one. In  the  meantime,  please  join  us  on  June  6th  at  7  –  9  pm  for  another  volunteer  opportunity  at  Feed  My  Starving  Children  in  Eagan,  MN.  How  can  we  expect  the  world to change for the better if we don’t take the first step ourselves?    Once  again  we  thank  you  all  for  your  continued  support  and  we  look  forward  to  bigger and better things in the months to come.     AIM   



By Eva Githina          How  many  times  have  you  gone  to  the  mall  to  find  something  African  to  wear?  As  a  person  who  has  a  more  afro  centric  style,  I  can tell you that the Mall is definitely not the  place  to  go  shopping  for  contemporary  African designs or the more traditional Kente  or  vitenge  outfits,  head  wraps,  tie  and  die  wrap  skirts,  Maasai  sandals  etc.  Most  of  the  time we need something African to wear, we  have to search high and low for such apparel   in  the  run‐down  strip  malls  or  make  trips  to  random  people’s  houses,  because  we  heard  through  the  grape  vine,  that  they  are  in  possession  of  African  clothing  for  sale.  Most  of the time though, we end up obtaining such  stylish  apparel  from  our  relatives  who  are  back in Africa.    Thomas  Mwicigi  had  a  similar  experience  in  December of 2007 when he went to the mall  to  find  something  African  to  wear.  When  he  failed,  he  sought  help  from  a  Sales  Clerk  at  the  store  who  rudely  told  him  to  check  the  sales  rack  at  the  back  of  the  store.  This  experience  got  Thomas  thinking  about  how  Africans  do  not  have  anything  out  there  in  the  market  that  is  geared  towards  them.  He  thought  that  considering  the  huge  global  population  of  Africans,  we  ought  to  have  something  that  is  for  us,  by  us  and  that  makes us feel good.     After  his  negative  mall  experience,  Thomas  was inspired to create a couple of designs so  that  he  could  at  least  have  something  to  wear.  After  sharing  these  designs  with  a  couple of his friends, they were so impressed, 

they told him they would willingly buy and wear  those  designs.  Up  until  this  point,  Thomas  had  simply  been  trying  to  create  a  couple  of  shirts  for  himself and  his  friends  to  wear,  he  had  not  thought  of  transforming  his  newly  realized  passion  into  a  business.  Thomas  went  on  to  create  Uhuru  Clothing  and  he  named  it  Uhuru,  which is the Swahili word for Freedom. He chose  that  name  because  of  its  meaning,  and  due  to  the  fact  that  growing  up  people  would  tell  him  that  he  wasn’t  going  to  be  successful  when  he  tried  new  things.  Uhuru  was  to  represent  the  freedom  to  do  whatever  he  believed  in  no  matter what people thought. He believes other  people  relate  to  Uhuru  because  everybody  desires freedom in one way or another.    Once Thomas decided to launch Uhuru Clothing  his  goal  was/is  ‘to  position  it  as  a  brand  that  provides  a  lifestyle  to  Africans  and  people  that  desire  to  identify  with  Africa,  African  designs,  symbols  and  heritage;  many  understand  and  express  what  freedom means  in  their  everyday  lives  and  it  resonates  well  with  consumers  because  there  is  a  sense  of  ownership  to  the  meaning of Uhuru (Freedom)’.     As  a  business,  he  found  it  challenging  to  convince  store  owners  that  his  clothing  would  appeal  to  Africans.  The  store  owners  did  not  believe  that  there  was  an  African  customer  base.  He  also  encountered  the perception  that  the West has more to offer compared to Africa.  As we all know, American made clothing is very  popular  back  home  and  especially more  so  if  it  is  by  a  well  known  American  or  European  designer.  Thomas  has  stepped  up  to  this  challenge  by  creating  an  African  brand  that  is  both  stylish  and  affordable.  His  customers  buy  Uhuru  Clothing  because  they  like  the  message  on his shirts and that the quality is obvious.    Thomas  has  been  in  business  for  1½  years.  His  advice to other budding entrepreneurs is that,   

"If you are thinking of opening up a business,  it  has  to  be  something  that  you  are  passionate  about…because  if  you  get  into  something  to  make  money,  the  first  hurdle  you  meet,  the  first  time  someone  says  you  can't do it, that is when you give up… {[F]find  something  you  are  passionate  about,  that  is  what you should get into. It is so much easier  then  to  believe  in  yourself,  if  it  is  something  that  you  are  passionate  about}.  Because  when  someone  says  no,  you  will  look  for  an  alternative".    Uhuru  Clothing  is  solely  owned  by  Thomas  Mwicigi who works with a team of designers  led  by  Ced  Nzomo.  Initially,  he  designed  the  shirts  himself,  but  as  Uhuru  Clothing  grew  he  realized  that  he  could  not  do  everything  (i.e.  designing,  marketing,  and  advertising)  all  by  himself.  He  now  employs graphic designers.     Thomas  considers  repeat  customers  his  greatest resource because there are some  who  will  buy  each  new  design  by  Uhuru  Clothing.  They  also  give  him  feedback  on  what he needs to work on, which for him is  essential  to  creating  a  great  product.  Thomas  believes  that  to  be  successful,  “it  is  important  to  get  feedback  because,  if  you  create  something  and  people  do  not  buy  it,  you have to listen to why they do not like it".    When  working  with  his  graphic  designers,  they  seek  inspirations  from  what  they  are  passionate  about  and  then  develop  their  concepts  from  there.  Uhuru  Clothing  is  currently  working  on  a  project  that  seeks  to  donate  mosquito  nets  to  Kenya  for  every  t‐ shirt they sell.  This is a project that Thomas  is  passionate  about.  He  is  also  inspired  by  other designers such as P‐Diddy and Kimathi  of Jamhuri Wear. Thomas believes strongly in  sharing  the  knowledge  he  has  acquired  and 

especially because he was helped out by others  in the industry. He especially thanks Kimathi for  being so supportive.     A wise African leader, Nelson Mandela said, “as  we  let  our  own  light  shine,  we  unconsciously  give  other  people  permission  to  do  the  same”;  so  we  ask  that  you  place  your  light  on  Uhuru  Clothing’s  website  and  check  out  the  fabulous  designs featured.   

Uhuru Clothing

One People By Gerald Montgomery

Referring to someone as African, surprisingly enough, does not absolutely mean that he or she has an abundance of melanin in his or her skin and the facilitators of his or her fives senses are accentuated to maturity because, fundamentally, he or she need only be a citizen of an African nation to be considered African; as is the case with the Afrikaans of South Africa. I say an African nation because one cannot be a citizen of Africa. Such status simply does not exist. With that said, not all Africans are… now what is the word I’m looking for? The primary reason “Africans” even call themselves African is because we have met them here, in the United States, and they are trying to oblige us. Think about it! If an Ethiopian while in Kenya on business encounters a Kenyan who asks him where he is from he would never ever respond, “I am an African.” He would most certainly confess before God and man, “I am, an Ethiopian.” While in Kenya the two are obviously standing on the continent of Africa each appearing to the other to be indigenous, so there is no need in the slightest to refer to themselves as Africans in this or any other scenario. Being educated men, the two realize SHE is a continent overflowing with nations and therefore would be a gross misnomer to call them all Africans, not allowing each nation to stand on its own. Americans, Canadians and Mexicans never refer to themselves as North

Americans, the continent on which our nations, or rather countries, were founded. Likewise the French, [west] Russians and Norwegians hardly ever volunteer themselves as Europeans for the benefit of Americans even while visiting America. So why [then] should Liberians, Ghanaians, Nigerians, Somalis, Cameroonians, Ivoirians, Zimbabweans, Guineans, Egyptians (yes I said Egyptians) and the other forty-four nations of Africa call themselves Africans to accommodate our [American] ignorance? They can no more be African citizens than we can be North American citizens. Such status simply does not exist. Fortunately for us those who are from African nations do not take offense to our ignorance, but are delighted when we [Americans] are educated enough to ask, “…but where in Africa are you from?” It is much [much] too easy for us to throw them all in an “African” barrel and seemingly just as insulting to not quantify each nation. God forbid we have to learn about fifty-two more countries when we can simply call them all Africans, making it one country (a la Sarah Palin) list their habitations as trees their provisions as bananas and be do with it! Even primates are separated in to genus, which are broken down further still into species to the glory of each creature. Well then, why not Africans to the glory of all of her nations? But this essay isn’t about the acceptability of calling a Sierra Leonean, African. I personally have little qualms with this label when used properly as I’m sure many Pan-Africans who wish to unite under it don’t [either]. This is about finding our father. Africa is the name of the landmass and we all know that the earth is the mother. And we as bastard children, we Americans with an abundance of melanin in our skin and the facilitators of our five senses accentuated to maturity, [we,] are being called African-Americans.

We are being called by the name of a woman who is nameless instead of our father’s name like any bastard children would. African-American only signifies that we are the sons and daughters of a woman, not the sons and daughters of a specific woman. And a woman without a name is a whore. So in essence we have been reduced to orphans. Rwanda, now that’s a mother’s name. Botswana, now that’s a mother’s name. Uganda, now that’s a mother’s name! Perhaps in our quest to find our father’s name we [AfricanAmericans] take time to seek out the name of our mother. What do I mean by “our father’s name?” Simple, by what name are we to call all people with an abundance of melanin in their skin and the facilitators of their five senses accentuated to maturity? What makes, Algerians, Angolans and those of us that have been displaced here, the Diaspora, the same; just as children with different mothers but the same father our siblings? Without question we can rule out “African-American” because that word cannot survive outside the United States. I am uncertain, to date, if this term is indicative of my race or nationality; neither of which this term is a proper representation. “African” isn’t nearly as exclusive as African-American but is ultimately too inclusive in its most fundamental use. Not all Africans are black anymore than all Europeans are white. Now “Black”, though on the surface is believed to be more offensive than it is descriptive certainly lays claim to all of our father’s children in one breath. And what of “Negro,” which like Black is too easily altered to antagonize but is as specific to us as DNA. And lastly, it is no longer a secret that “people of color” or “colored” is an even bigger barrel than the African barrel; lumping all non-whites together and

discounting all of their many cultures and contributions as cosmopolitans, African or otherwise. Why do you think white Americans call all people of color minorities? This is an American phenomenon not a global one, because globally whites are the minority! Whatever word we end up with, regardless what our father’s name ends up being, we must not agree on this name simply because we hope that throughout time it will remain impervious to insult or will never be fashioned as a weapon against us. Make no mistake; an evil mind is far more imaginative than a pure heart. Be it Black, Negro or affectionately “the sons and daughters with an abundance of melanin in their skin and the facilitators of their five senses accentuated to maturity,” let us rally around it as children around their father; as brothers and sisters who live for one another and not as individuals. Whatever it is, let us begin to stand erect with our heads held high at the very utterance of it. Let it be the reason I give my last to a Liberian or my best to an Ethiopian; because we are one people!

If you have any comments or questions about this article please email

Sign-Up to volunteer – June 6th from 7pm-9pm AIM will be signing up to volunteer at “Feed my starving children”, anyone that is interested  should send us an email, children are invited (minimum age is 5yrs).   For  more  information  on  “Feed  my  Starving  Children”  please  visit  their  website:  The below map shows the countries that “Feed my starving Children” supports

Feed My Starving Children – June 6th, 2009 Eagan 990 Lone Oak Road, Suite 160* Eagan, MN 55121 USA 651.379.2775 Group Name: AIM (AFRICANS IN MINNESOTA) Meeting Time: 6/6/2009 7:00:00 PM ‐ 9:00:00 PM   Location: Eagan

FMSC - Eagan Eagan Our Eagan facility is located at 990 Lone Oak Road, Suite 160*, just 2 blocks east of Lexington, 3/4 mile east of 35E on the south side of Lone Oak Road. * On March 1, 2008, the Eagan FMSC site moved to suite 160, located in the same building as the former site. Please call 763.504.2919 Feed My Starving Children is a Christian 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. A single meal costs only 17 cents to produce, and 94% of all donations goes directly toward the food program. •

We are unable to accommodate groups of youth younger than 3rd grade regardless of the volunteer ratio or packing experience due to food quality and safety reasons.

JOB OPPORTUNITIES  May 20, 2009 – May 31, 2009      WWW.INDEED.COM    PT Warehouse 361.htm?utm_source=Indeed&utm_medium=organic&ut m_campaign=Indeed    PT Medical Records ROI Specialist ls.aspx?ipath=EXIND&siteid=cbindeed&Job_DID=J8H5K 768V778TQ93P6H&cbRecursionCnt=1&cbsid=4d7e6503 4bfe42c4b12d9c217deef745‐296134993‐VL‐4    PT Field Service Rep i2=100895786322922&i3=DETAIL&hash=1752368441&pcr ‐ id=OSC4%2fEl4bt5AzgGk0j%2f0%2fUu5o0ds5bADw7aIQJ A6ahmLFgRMerFj39%2bOr6Sj0%2fO3sFA7mVIM2%2bjz    PT Marketing Assistant 010.htm?utm_source=Indeed&utm_medium=organic&u tm_campaign=Indeed    Package Handler d=5490519&wt.mc_id=indeed&CAC‐ Indeed&zmc=Indeed    PT Customer Service/Collections‐time‐ Customer‐Service‐Representative‐ Collections/Minneapolis‐ MN/J8A5V671C5D505KB0GJ.aspx    Cosmetics Beauty Advisor career_section/jobdetail.ftl?lang=en&job=42074&src=JB ‐10420    PT HR Generalist ls.aspx?ipath=EXIND&siteid=cbindeed&Job_DID=J8G88 T60K3VSJP6HF4X    Optical Assistant ml    Testimonial Line Coordinator ml   PT Nanny (for July) 963.htm?utm_source=Indeed&utm_medium=organic&u tm_campaign=Indeed    Visual Product Coordinator d=17623252&viewType=main&networkView=main    PT Fitness Assistant e=15&jid=1724877    PT Medical Assistant ml    Order Capture/Customer Service Rep ApplyStart.aspx?lr=cbprime&siteid=prime_retire01&Job _DID=J8D1B761JDPZFQJ3RZM    PT Teller ode=15&jid=1729801    PT DVD Shipper‐Time‐DVD‐ Shippers‐Needed‐In‐Minneapolis/Minneapolis‐ MN/J8E4KR6CZ4JVK7KDRJM.aspx    Shuttle Driver h/quick?action=JobSearchViewJob&JobSearch_JobId=51 8518740    PT Insurance Sales ls.aspx?ipath=EXIND&siteid=cbindeed&Job_DID=J7X7B3 77TF7YCPDLMRD    PT Collector sitejblist/jobdetail.ftl?lang=en&job=130460    Front Desk Team Member On=1    Retail Merchandiser‐ local/search.cgi?action=ViewJobDetails&TypeOfUser=br owse&JobIndNum=2354983&from=indeed 

Bi‐lingual Call Center Rep;jsessionid=kvhyKJqCZPKGB2hHP147JWwz6 BxCPS6pT0L6SN7ZbmWlJN0vTCTm!2102573135!‐ 783891537?activeApplicationId=HOME&currentMenuId= ANONYMOUS.HOME&jobID=27925    PT CMA ml    PT Medical Assistant/Receptionist ls.aspx?ipath=EXIND&siteid=cbindeed&Job_DID=J8H4J1 778HFW2V2LS0B    PT Bookkeeper d=17665540&viewType=main&networkView=main    PT Account Manager    PT Customer Service Rep‐ local/search.cgi?action=ViewJobDetails&TypeOfUser=br owse&JobIndNum=2356105&from=indeed    PT Customer Service Rep w/SAP d=17526868&viewType=main&networkView=main        WWW.SNAGAJOB.COM    Tire/Battery Installer‐seeker/jobs/job‐ details.aspx?postingId=958051&fsr=true    Merchandising Rep‐seeker/jobs/job‐ details.aspx?postingId=1043351&fsr=true    Production Line Team Member‐seeker/jobs/job‐ details.aspx?postingId=509861&fsr=true    Cashier‐seeker/jobs/job‐ details.aspx?postingId=947431&fsr=true    Security Officer‐seeker/jobs/job‐ details.aspx?postingId=874766&fsr=true     Retail Sales Rep‐seeker/jobs/job‐ details.aspx?postingId=868647&fsr=true    Delivery Drivers‐seeker/jobs/job‐ details.aspx?postingId=832661&fsr=true    Sales Associate‐seeker/jobs/job‐ details.aspx?postingId=952949&fsr=true    Sales Lead‐seeker/jobs/job‐ details.aspx?postingId=1128245&fsr=true    Server‐seeker/jobs/job‐ details.aspx?postingId=863699&fsr=true    Inventory Taker‐seeker/jobs/job‐ details.aspx?postingId=670589&fsr=true    Customer Service/Sales Associate‐seeker/jobs/job‐ details.aspx?postingId=948725&fsr=true    Sales Associate‐seeker/jobs/job‐ details.aspx?postingId=550884&fsr=true   


Happy Hour Date: June 26th, 2009 Time: 5:30pm

65 Main Street SE, Suite 143 Minneapolis, MN 55414 (612) 746-3970


Linda Obel, Evalyn Githina, Wangechi Ruguaru

AIM Magazine June 2009  

CEO of Uhuru Clothing…talks about his Freedom & Passion By Gerald Montgomery Sign Up! Next Volunteer Event… Feed My Starving Children AI...

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