The African Community Center for Unity and Self-Determination/Atlanta under the authority
of the elected Unity Council is providing leadership in helping to establish and maintain a
Metro Atlanta Council of African Elders. This Council is to serve our community in at lease
two ways, 1) provide counsel and guidance to the Unity Council and our Community on
matters of
vital interest to our people and 2) help resolve conflicts/disputes/contradictions in
the Community and help build and maintain a system/process for this purpose.

The following points reflect our
current thinking on how we will assemble the Council, its
structure or makeup and how the Council will function to serve our Community. Please
understand that this process should and will grow. We call on every person in the
Community to contribute to this important and necessary project. All suggestion, corrections
and/or criticisms should be sent to our email address at: functionalunity@bellsouth.net or
given directly to any member of the Council of African Elders or any member of the Unity
Council.  – This effort can only be successful if you and others care enough to help think
through this process and offer your frank suggestions for improvement.   

- Points:

(1) What is an Elder?
A person, senior in years, who is highly respected in the Community for their character and
spirit, demonstrated through their behavior, good judgment and sensitivity to the needs of
our community and people. An elder is normally a person of influence in their family and
community and is often used to help maintain balance and peace. An elder would include
both men and women.

(2) Age of Council Members:
For our purposes, age fifty-five (55) is the threshold age: 55 and older.
This age is suggested because it should give us a large enough pool (brothers and sisters
in that age range) from which to draw. Selecting an age older (60 or 65) would possibly not
give us a large enough pool from which to draw or pull from.

(2a) Age Levels of Council Members:
55 to 65, Jr. Elder
65 to 75, Sr. Elder
75 and older, Paramount Elder


(3) Size of Council:
There would be no upper limit to the number of members of this council. It could be as large
as 50 or more members. Having a large council makes it more likely that a panel (7, 9 or 12
members) could be assembled when needed.  Having a large council also allows for
rotation; not calling on the same elders, over-and-over.

(4) Composition of the Council:
When possible, an equal number of women and men would be the body of the council.  
Women and men would hold an equal (and equitable) role within the council.  Where there
are matters which specifically deal with one gender the appropriate gender would convene
to respond and resolve the issue.  The other gender may share any constructive input or
feedback to the gender deliberating on the issue.

It is recommended that each Elder partner with at least one youth for the purpose of
intergenerational transfer/transmission of information and wisdom. The details of such a
union are to be developed.

(5) Selection of Council Members:
As persons are recommended from the community to serve on the council, staff and
volunteers of the African Community Center would contact those recommended to let them
know that their names had been submitted, inform them of the responsibilities of Council
membership and assess their ability and willingness to serve. The staff person or volunteer
would secure enough information to draft a
comprehensive bio.

The potential Elders’ name and bio would be placed before the elected Unity Council for
approval or disapproval. Unless compelled to do otherwise, the Unity Council would
approve those recommended from the community who meet the basic requirements. It
should be very rare that anyone recommended, willing and qualified would not be approved
for membership on the Council of African Elders.

(6) Recommendation Process:
Anyone in our community (Metro Atlanta) can recommend a senior (55 or older) for
placement on the Council. This is done by completing a short form for this purpose at: http:
//www.unity4power.org/elder-form.  

(7) Length of Service:
Lifetime: Brothers and sisters serving in this very vital role should be encouraged to
continue to serve for as long as they possibly can. Natural turnover will occur as new elders
are recommended and approved and current elders leave for any number of reasons. -
Our community must show high respect to all our elders, but special respect is to be shown
to the brothers and sisters who give of themselves to serve as a member of the Council of
African Elders.

(8) Support for our Elders:
It has been recommended that, as a community, we seek ways to build and maintain a
monetary fund to support our Elders in times of need. A small committee could be
commissioned to research and make recommendations to the community as the process
develops.

(9) Trained Mediators:
As a part of our community, there already exist several brothers and sisters who have
training in mediation and arbitration. These few will be commissioned to establish a training
process to add to their numbers. The goal of this process is to train several new mediators
each year.

The objective is to assign a trained mediator to each panel of Elders in session. The
mediators would facilitate sessions, but would not be a part of any decisions. The
mediators’ role is to skillfully get both sides of a concern/conflict fully exposed so that there
might be healing and/or to aid the Panel in making sure the deliberation remains focused
and progresses appropriately. – There could be cases where agreement/resolutions is
reached between conflicting parties (with the aid of a trained mediator) before it ever
reaches the Council of African Elders.     

(10) The Council of African Elders as Advisers:
In their role of providing counsel and guidance to the Unity Council of the African
Community Center and our Community in general; the Council of African Elders would
function as a panel (small number) or as a council-of-the-whole depending on the need. As
council-of-the-whole, all members are to deliberate. Any recommendation from the Council
of African Elders wherein ¾ or 75% of the members in attendance and satisfying
requirements for a quorum (50% of total membership), would be considered official.

Any individual or organizational member of our community would be able to call on the
Council of African Elders for guidance.  Specific process to be established:

(11) The Council of African Elders in helping resolve
conflicts/disputes/contradictions:
In their role of helping to resolve conflicts/dispute/contradictions, the Council of African
Elders provides the community with a venue to attain resolution without (or before) having
to bring in outside judiciary systems that do not have our best interest at heart.

In this role, the Council of African Elders would divide itself into panels (7, 9 or 12). A panel
with a trained mediator would be used to help restore unity/harmony to any matter correctly
brought before the Council. The details of this process are a work in progress.

(12) Trigger:
When an individual, organization or institution in our community has a concern it wants to
bring before the Council, they can reach out to any member of the Council or call the
African Community Center at 404-344-5454. That concern (w/contact info) would be
communicated to a committee (3 to 5 members) of the Council for review and appropriate
action.

(13) Organizing Process:
This document has been and continues to be disseminated throughout our community.
Everyone is strongly encourage
d to share it with others and also to respond with
recommendations to strengthen this document and process.

(14) What’s needed from you now?!!!?
As a receiver of this document, you are being entrusted with the responsibility to do the
following two things: 1) forward/share this document with brothers and sisters you know and
2) respond with your recommendations for Elders to serve on the Council of African Elders
and also with suggestions to help strengthen this process.

(15) Urgent Appeal:
Please do not take this effort lightly; our youth are watching and future generations will
judge us. This is a clear opportunity for us to build (collectively) an institution/process that
meets a real need and at the same time is a bold statement of our determination to be free
of exploitation and domination by others.

Unity, Self-Determination and Love for our People,

The African Community Center/Atlanta
404-344-5454
functionalunity@bellsouth.net
Base Document
Council of African Elders/Metro Atlanta:
*To give feedback: Click Here
*To review list of Council Members: Click Here
*To recommend an Elder to the Council: Click Here
*To volunteer for Elder Support Team: Click Here