Louis Alemayehu - Director
Louis Alemayehu joined EJAM to organize a youth outreach project - Together Renewing Our Urban People's Environment (TROUPE).
Louis is a writer, educator, administrator, poet, father, grandfather, performer and activist of African and Native American heritage. He has taught classes in poetry and language arts. He also facilitates workshops on racism, culture and community building. His writing has appeared in The Butterfly Tree: An Anthology of Black Minnesota Writers; The Drum: An International Journal of Writers of Color; and The International Process Work Journal. Louis is a cofounder of the Native Arts Circle, the oldest Native American artists organization in the Upper Midwest. In 2000, Louis's poem, Thrones, was cast in bronze and installed within the Phillips Urban Gateway, an inner city public art installation in Minneapolis. Louis, along with composer/musicians Carei Thomas and David Wright, was a founding member of the poetry/jazz ensamble, Ancestor Energy in 1981. Both the Loft and InterMedia Arts have honored him for his pioneering work as a spoken word artist and creative writer. He is the recipient of a Diverse Visions award from InterMedia Arts. In 1993, he was awarded a Leadership in Neighborhoods (LIN) grant from Saint Paul Companies as a community-based artist. In 2003, the Headwaters Foundation gave Louis an award for life-long commitment to social justice. Currently, his work focuses on teaching, writing, performance, mentorship, community organizing, charter schools and organizational development. Samples of his Ancestor Energy CD, AllWhere, can be heard online at www.cdbaby.com.
Today, Louis works deeply across multiple cultural communities: with Ce Tempoxcalli for Chicano arts and education, with AfroEco for food security, with EJAM for green economic development, with Multicultural Indigenous Academy for intercultural education, with Women's Environmental Institute on health disparities, and Finote Tibeb for Ethiopian cultural aarts and language preservation. In 2009, the Minnesota Spoken Word Association recognized Louis for his 30 years of excellence and innovation in performing spoken word in the Upper Midwest.
Harriet Oyera - Food Justice Consultant
Harriet Oyera was born and raised on a farm in Uganda. She graduated from Makerere University and worked for 22 years in the Uganda Judicial Department and 2 years in the Ministry of Agriculture While living in Uganda, Harriet supported orphans of war and HIV/AIDS victims by introducing them to sewing and other sustainable creative activities to give them hope and a feeling of self-worth. She continues to support education programs for disadvantaged children and environmental awareness initiatives in Uganda.
In Minneapolis, Harriet started a community garden and The Healing Threads, a quilting project to enable stressed women find a creative community of peace. She is currently a leader in the Harrison community and in multiple roles at Redeemer Center for Life in Minneapolis. She is also organizing EJAM's Traditional Foods, Healthy Communities project
Harriet has been recognized for her work. She received the 2009 Minnesota Quilters "Beginners' Scholarship Award. In 2009, she spoke at a Feminist Panel at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul to discuss "Realities of Refugee Women in Minnesota Today". In 2010, she spoke at the Commemoration of the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. She also spoke at the Noble Peace Prize Forum on "Finding Peace After Pain."
To watch a mini documentary on the community garden Harriet started in Minneapolis, visit: http://theperennialplate.com/the-perennial-plate/2010/8/16/episode-22-a-very-community-garden.html.