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The African American Leadership Forum operates as a think-and-do tank. We convert research-based thought on social issues into action-oriented agenda and solutions, which address the fundamental causes of racial injustice. Our solutions are aimed to impact the areas of economic prosperity, generational wealth building, public safety, education, health and environmental justice.

We want to end racial injustice in all its forms in Minnesota. To achieve that, we utilize data science research, discourse-driven gatherings, design innovation, and strategic community engagement. Issues for Black Minnesotans include some of the widest educational, employment, and health disparities in the nation. Efforts to address these challenges were historically driven by white-led organizations and institutions. Their approaches were largely ineffective with limited results.

The long-term outcome of our plan is to build a Black Agenda for Change: a sweeping platform of Black-Centered solutions which will serve as a blueprint to combat racism and resolve structural inequities.

Founded in 2006, we sprouted from a dining room table at the home of our first co-chair, Gary Cunningham. Cunningham and a handful of his friends were having an open conversation about the problems facing their community. What were they going to do about it? What could they do about it, they wondered. That’s when the light bulb moment flickered, and they began to get excited about creating a Black-led, Black-created organization that could tackle the roots of issues impacting Black people.

Today, with a full-time staff, The Forum is stronger and more impactful than it has ever been, thriving in its commitment to advance racial equity statewide.

& Vision

Our mission is to create a radical future for Black Minnesotans by advancing Black-Centered policies and solutions that actualize true liberation.

We envision a prosperous future for Black Minnesota communities. A tomorrow that is inclusive, vibrant, fair and where Black excellence excels in all forms. We’re inspired by the Afrofuturism movement embracing the rich heritage of Black communities; believing in the unlimited potential of the future. We imagine innovative problem-solving to achieve racial harmony, while empowering Black communities with resources to manifest an equitable future for themselves.


The Black community is not a monolith, and neither is our staff.
We are a diverse leadership team that represents the vast lived experiences of Black communities.

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