Young Black Americans have in recent years been given the opportunity to travel to their ancestral African countries and connect with their roots by nonprofit organizations.
One such nonprofit is Birthright Africa which has its headquarters in New York City.
“This isn’t about validating Black identity. It’s about providing an opportunity for people to explore their ancestry,” Birthright Africa co-founder Diallo Shabaz told CNN.
Another nonprofit organization that does a similar thing is Birthright Israel. It was initiated in 1994 by Charles Bronfman and Michael Steinhardt in collaboration with the Israeli government.
Birthright Israel sponsors free 10-day heritage trips to Israel for young adults aged 18-32.
Since the trips began in 1999, more than 600,000 people from 67 countries have participated in the Birthright Israel program. Around 80 percent of the participants have been from the U.S. and Canada.
During the trips to Israel, Participants are encouraged to discover new meaning in their personal Jewish identity.
Other countries that do this include Greece, Hungary, Macedonia, Armenia, Cuba, and Ireland.
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Bright Africa’s goal is to give young people knowledge and understanding about Africa that the American school system does not provide.
To be eligible for a birthright trip to Africa, one has to be a U.S. citizen and between 13 and 30 years old. The person also has to be of African descent.
The trips are free. Flights, hotels, food, and the cost of museums are covered by Birthright Africa and its partners.
Register here for a Birthright Africa application.