What we do

We divide our work into eight areas of focus.
Advocacy

Lawmakers, judges, and politicians serve the community. We must demand that they do their jobs.

Compliance Visits

All youth–regardless of their crime–deserve to be in a safe, comfortable, and rehabilitative facility.

Conflict Resolution

The way in which a young person handles conflict can have grave and life changing consequences.

Economic Justice

Economic sustainability is key for the success and well-being of our families & communities.

Families

Families are key to the success of both our children and our communities.

Individual Support

We believe that everyone needs and deserves individualized support and guidance.

Mentoring

The youth in our community need our guidance to be successful. It is our responsibility to mentor and raise up our children and youth.

Transformative Justice

Transformative justice acknowledges the lack of justice in our current system of policing and incarceration.

About Ubuntu Village

Mission

Ubuntu’s mission is to provide programming that delivers social, economic, and transformational justice to children and communities. We work primarily with youth who are involved in the criminal justice system and their families. Our program involves immediate triaging and connecting to services as well as longer term educational planning, skills development, economic entrepreneurship, and a transformational curricula. This will include anti-oppression training, know your rights curricula, restorative parenting discussions, group counselling, and history lessons.

As they move through Ubuntu, families and youth gain job skills, feel more confident in their ability to navigate systems in their lives including the courts, address the harm inflicted by institutionalized violence, support each other, and eventually become leaders in their communities. Ubuntu operates under a harm reduction model in which we acknowledge the reality of participants’ lives and the very serious choices they face. We prioritize providing immediate economic opportunities to participants and families as well as developing strategies for long-term economic sustainability.

Through this program, families & youth held down by society and the courts will transform into the leaders of their communities. In their work assisting others with similar experiences, they will be empowered to take charge of their own lives and fight to make their dreams, and their hopes for themselves and their communities, a reality.

Vision

“Ubuntu” is a South African word that means “I am because we are.” In other words, we become our fullest selves through our investment in our communities, our kin, and our children. At Ubuntu, we believe that we need to work together as a community to support families and children, create economically sustainable solutions, promote education, innovation, and creativity, and foster transformational justice. We work toward these goals through a philosophy rooted in the 7 Principles of Kwanzaa, which ground our approach in unity, self-determination, collective work, responsibility, purpose, and creativity.

Ubuntu is a village that connects young people and families to resources as well as a space to reflect and to grow. Together, we work toward imagining and creating a world in which all children are empowered to pursue their goals and all families have the economic resources to support them. Through tackling issues like juvenile justice, mass incarceration, racism, unemployment, trauma, joblessness, individualism, and divisiveness, we work toward more just and equitable solutions that enable people confronted with multiple oppressions to overcome them in unity.

LATEST NEWS

I am because we are

Our Team

It takes a team to raise a village.

Staff


Ernest Johnson
Ernest Johnson
Director
Ernest is co-founder of Ubuntu Village. He has a passion and energy for advocacy and volunteerism that spans a period of 10 years. He has traveled around the country speaking on navigating the criminal justice system, family engagement, and leadership building. He is a recipient of the National Juvenile Justice Beth Arnovists Gutsy Advocate for Youth award.
Jesse Chanin
Jesse Chanin
Education Coordinator
Jesse is an experienced teacher, facilitator, researcher, and youth advocate. She has an MA in Education and is currently pursuing her PhD in Sociology at Tulane University.
Louis Ward
Louis Ward
Manager of Green Scapes Project
Louis is a graduate of Booker T. Washington High School. He has skills in landscaping and welding. He mentors with the Real Talk program which focuses on alternatives for people impacted by mass incarceration.
Joshua Tripps
Joshua Tripps
Director of Youth Programming
Joshua understand the importance of opportunities and the juvenile justice system. He was impacted by the system and now he’s the voice that guides our principals.
Florence Fleischer Djoleto
Florence Fleischer Djoleto
Development DIrector
Florence is an architect and urban planner with an interest in social justice issues. She is specifically interested in the intersections of health, the built environment, and financial security. She is currently pursuing a PhD. in urban studies at UNO.
Myron Miller
Myron Miller
Community Organizer
Myron has played a key role in the reopening Sarah T. Reed facility. Myron is very passion about Education and Youth Power. Myron has been organizing for the last 6 years. Myron believed that we should always be aware and ready to serve and assist our schools and communities. It is our service that binds us to our community.

Board of Directors


Vedisia (Dee Dee) Green
Vedisia (Dee Dee) Green
Dee Dee Green is the Area Program Director for AFSC in New Orleans. She has worked both regionally (South) and nationally as a social justice advocate. She holds a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Marie-Isabelle Pautz
Marie-Isabelle Pautz
Marie-Isabelle studied Restorative Justice at Eastern Mennonite University and at the IIRP, where she earned her Master’s Degree. She has facilitated 100s of conflict resolution circles and conferences in school, neighborhood, and workplace settings.
Parker Sternbergh
Parker Sternbergh
Parker has a Master’s in Heath Administration  from Duke and a Master’s in Social Work from Tulane. She has a private clinical practice focusing on families and children and is trained and credentialed in trauma and emotionally focused therapy.
Tammy Carter
Tammy Carter
Tammy is a New Orleans native and graduated from UNO with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Sociology. She has taught for the LSU Ag Center and Southern University Ag Center​and is currently the Executive Assistant for James Carter & Associates, LLC.
Marvin Arnold
Marvin Arnold
Still a kid at heart, Marvin believes investing in youth is the key to our future.
Terry Nogess
Terry Nogess
Terry has over 10 years of professional accounting consulting experience using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, and approaches to problems. He is highly self-motivated, has excellent analytical skills, effective organizational and time management skills, and has the ability to communicate technical concepts to technical and non-technical stakeholders. Terry holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting.