• We love Village Building
  • We prevent Land Loss
  • We are passionate about Preserving Culture

About us

Who are we?

We believe in village building and are working to re-imagine Englewood with residents.

The Ujamaa Community Land Trust (Ujamaa) will advance the overall wellbeing of the Chicago and global community, by building a solidarity economy, worker owned cooperatives and other types of democratically managed enterprises. We are working to preserve land and culture. We leverage resources to acquire, restore, and revitalize communities. We believe in village building and are working to re-imagine Englewood with residents.

Our Story

The Ujamaa Community Land Trust (Ujamaa) was created as a result of a long history of conversations and movement towards community ownership of land and agricultural development in Englewood.

In the summer of 2015, Grow Greater Englewood re-introduced the effort and helped to bring people together to talk about establishing a community land trust in Englewood. Planning and meeting began around core principles, community values, by-laws, land preservation, and village building.

We honor what has brought us here and are here for the residents of Englewood. As a product of a great deal of history and culture, Ujamaa is now working to preserve land and culture for generations.

We honor what has brought us here and are here for the residents of Englewood.

Ujamaa is now working to preserve land and culture for generations.

Our Vision

Land & Property Development (Housing & Innovation)
We are coordinating efforts with local organizations, property owners, the city of Chicago, investors, and residents to acquire and preserve land and property in Englewood. We are locating parcels of land and potential properties in the area and looking to develop Eco­Villages ­- clusters of properties, businesses and agriculture development. Our goal is to acquire 5­-10 properties by December 2017.
Education and Culture (Self-preservation)
We are working to share cooperative economics models and frameworks with community residents as a way to re­-introduce people to African-­centered culture, values and practices. In order to engage the entire family, we will partner with Englewood and non­-Englewood organizations to co-facilitate workshops, teach­-ins, and digital learning platforms. We practice village building through Black cooperative economics and resource-sharing. Our goal is to increase our membership to 500 by December 2017.
Food Sustainability (Food & Agriculture)
We support local food system development and are working with Englewood-based and non-Englewood-based entities to fuel a local food system in Englewood. This initiative will consolidate current efforts and help form new ones. We support healthy food cultivation. Our goal is to build a Food co-op by April 2017.

Our Principles

Ujamaa is kiswahili for “family hood”. It established the foundation for social and economic development in Tanzania, Jamaica, Spain, and many other places around the world. Dr. Maulana Karenga also used Ujamaa in the Ngoza Saba – the seven principles of Kwanaza Celebration. Ujamaa, the fourth principle, stands for cooperative economics. Ujamaa is a membership-based organization; our residents and facilitators make decisions for the organization; one member, one vote. We are a not-for-profit, 501c(3) organization. Our governing structure is set-up as a community-based cooperative. We have modeled our principles after Cooperation Jackson and the Mondragon cooperative in Spain. We follow these core principles:
  • Voluntary & Open Membership

  • Democratic & Member-Owned

  • Sovereignty of Self & Labor

  • Autonomy & Independence

  • Time-banking & Alternative Capital

  • Members’ Economic Participation

  • Self-Management & Self-Preservation

  • Pay Solidarity

  • Internal Cooperation – Cooperation among Members

  • External Cooperation – Cooperation among Cooperatives

  • Education, Rites of Passage and Cultural Preservation

  • Social Transformation

  • Universal Village Building

Board of Directors

Jermont Montgomery, Organizer, Workers Center for Racial Justice

Jermont Montgomery

Organizer, Workers Center for Racial Justice

Jermont was born and raised in Englewood and is a longtime community organizer focusing on human rights and workers’ rights issues. He is also the Vice President of the Board and works to find support and entrepreneurial opportunities for previously incarcerated members of the community.

Barbara Pillow-Sidibeh, Outreach Coordinator, Grow Greater Englewood

Barbara Pillow-Sidibeh

Outreach Coordinator, Grow Greater Englewood

Barbara is a licensed food preservationist and entrepreneur. She served as a consultant to community groups organized for community empowerment, fighting police misconduct, and combatting intracommunity violence. She is currently a staff member of Grow Greater Englewood, an organization in Englewood working to develop an urban agriculture district.

Ronnie Smith, Executive Director, 5P Empowerment Foundation

Ronnie Smith

Executive Director, 5P Empowerment Foundation

Ronnie is a basketball coach in Englewood. He also has a background in property development and economics. He is also the Executive Director of the 5P Empowerment Foundation, and organization that focuses on creative mentorships as one component towards community stabilization.

The Village

Where residents share the work.

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