African American Family Services

Recent Articles

Referral numbers suggest Hennepin County bias against culturally specific providers

By Brandon Jones

Contributing Writer



In our conversations about injustice and systemic racism, we tend to focus on individuals who have been mistreated. Whether we are speaking about current police brutality incidents, something that happens to Black entertainers, or racist rants, the injustice and systematic assaults on Black people continue. Oftentimes one element of this oppression that is often overlooked is how Black organizations get caught up in the abusive system. John Woods, an African American who is the program director and owner of New Perspectives Behavioral Health Systems, is speaking out about the injustice that he is experiencing now. Woods claims that the review team at 1800 Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis (Hennepin County Detox) is systematically running his agency out of business. Continue Reading →

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Faith, mental illness, and the African American community


By Dr. Thomas Adams

CEO, African American 

Family Services


Faith and mental illness have been debated since B.C. (before Christ). As African Americans, we are a people who embody a tremendous amount of faith. A 2009 report found African Americans to be the most religious group of people in the U.S.

For the majority of African Americans, the object of our faith is rooted in our belief in God. As African Americans, there are three dynamics that are prevalent for us when we enter into a conversation about mental illness: faith, mental illness, and ethnic identity. Most believers in God believe that God can cure us of diseases, disabilities, and other afflictions through prayer. Continue Reading →

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Sabathani appoints interim executive director



Sabathani Community Center has announced that Lissa Jones has been appointed as the facility’s interim executive director as the board launches an executive search. Her role will include providing executive-level support and conducting an organizational capacity assessment. Jones was deemed by Sabathani’s board to be uniquely qualified to serve in this capacity based on her previous experience and expertise. In addition to leading African American Family Services for 10 years, Jones’ core competencies include strategic growth opportunity development; learning and leadership development; budget management; resource development and grants management; and organizational effectiveness and capacity building. “Detangling organizational puzzles is my secondary love,” shared Jones. Continue Reading →

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Minnesotans converge in celebration of Black History Month Expo to feature Black products, services, and fun for all ages

By Robin James

Contributing Writer


Black History Month matters. What’s being lauded as the biggest Black History Month Celebration in Minnesota — the 2013 Midwest Black History Month Expo (MBHE) — is happening at the Saint Paul RiverCentre in St. Paul on February 23, from 10 am to 7 pm. The MBHE is a ticketed event that is open to the public. All are encouraged to attend. Continue Reading →

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African American Family Services hires new CEO

Minneapolis native expresses importance of offering cross-cultural services
By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer


Nonprofit organizations that serve Blacks and other people of color must “cross racial lines” to continue to attract private and public funding, says the new African American Family Services (AAFS) CEO. After nine years in Atlanta as a minority health school association executive director, and 21 years of nonprofit administration experience, Thomas Adams assumed his duties in July.  


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‘Hurt people hurt people’ — healing Black men’s pain


By Dwight Hobbes

Contributing Writer


Samuel Simmons. Say that name at a gathering of psychologists, social workers or both and you will catch someone’s ear. This is because Simmons, a veteran professional with a strong track record for successful counseling, is well known for his singular approach to mental and emotional health. He forgoes the field’s usual penchant for catchphrases and polysyllabic jargon to speak in plain language about how to solve complicated problems with simple common sense. “If the client can’t understand what you’re saying,” Simmons notes, “you can’t really do him or her much good.”

At a hulking, fairly fit 6’4”, Simmons puts you in mind of, say, Forrest Whitaker, an affable bear of a man who sports a ready smile, extends a hearty handshake, and offers a friendly word. Continue Reading →

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