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 least
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 suggestions,
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 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.

(3) Size of Council:
The pool of eligible members would not have a limit, however the Unity Council has the
authority to determine when a representative number has been reached.  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:
The Council shall reflect a diverse geographic and social representation of the community.
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.

(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.

Service on the Council begins after the completion of the orientation process and
participation in the Initiation ceremony.

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.

(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, or by contacting the African Community Centers
office at 404 344-5454. Forms will also be made available at other venues throughout the
Community.

(7) Length of Service:
Brothers and sisters serving in this very vital role should be encouraged to
continue to serve for as long as they are able. Natural turnover will occur as new elders
are recommended and approved and current elders leave. The Unity Council will handle
issues of the ability to serve.

(8) Trained Mediators:
As a part of our community, there already exist brothers and sisters who have
training in mediation and arbitration. These 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 to function
as facilitator when appropriate. 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.     

(9) 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 of 7, 9 or 12 appropriate to the issue at hand.

In cases that represent great harm or danger to the Community, the Council of the whole
shall be convened.  In order to deliberate a quorum of 50% of total membership must be in
attendance. In order for any recommendation from the Council of African Elders to be
official, 75% of the members in attendance must be in agreement.

(10) 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
.
In this role, the Council of African Elders would divide itself into panels (7, 9 or 12). A panel
would be used to help restore unity/harmony to any matter correctly
brought before the Council.

(11) Trigger:
Any individual or organizational member of our community would be able to call on the
Council of African Elders for guidance.  When an individual, organization or institution in our
community has a concern it wants to bring before the Council, they can:
•        Complete a form on-line, or
•        Call the African Community Center. 404-344-5454
All concerns will be handled with confidentiality and properly logged. Concern, along with
contact information will be communicated to a Mediation Team member who will gather all
necessary information and if appropriate will share this information with the Council for
review and appropriate action.

(12) Committees of the Elder Support Team
Shall consist of members of the Council and members of the Community-at-Large. Each
committee shall have at least three (3) members.

•        Support for our Elders: It is been recommended that, as a community, we seek
ways to provide wholistic support to our Elders in times of need. A small committee is
commissioned to research and make recommendations to the community.
•        Coaching of Youth: It is recommended that each Elder partner with at least one youth
for the purpose of intergenerational transfer/transmission of information and wisdom.
•        Nominations and Campaign Committee: This committee is charged with making
the Community aware of the Council of Elders and its process; to encourage participation of
the community in the process; and to solicit nominations from members of the Community.
•        Legal Committee: This committee shall consist of lawyers and those with legal
experience to advise the Council on issues of liability, and to serve as Consul as necessary.
•        Orientation/Initiation Committee: Is charged with designing an orientation process
to prepare nominated Elders for service; to arrange mediation training; to design and
facilitate the Initiation Ceremony.


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 general feedback: Click Here
*To report concern for Elder Resolution; 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
*Bio Intake Form: Click Here