How the Center for Multicultural Mediation is changing lives in Minneapolis

Nov 23, 2020

Sometimes we gotta brag a little about the awesome clients we have. 

This organization is run by a literal hero.

Our recent website client, The Center for Multicultural Mediation is incredible, to say the least. Run by Abdi Ali, it’s done amazing work since its inception in 2004 with the Somali and East African community of the Twin CIties. After working with the homeless population for many years, he had the realization that there were significant cultural hurdles for many of the youth in these under-served communities. Many of those folks were falling through the cracks of society. They were more likely to become homeless or be put into the legal system than basically any other community in the area. Something had to change — that’s why Abdi started the CMM.

Foundation for Self-Sufficiency

Since 2004, The Center for Multicultural Mediation has evolved to meet the needs of these communities and the government and judicial parties they interact with. Focusing on a multi-pronged approach to addressing systemic issues along with better communication, CMM’s goal is to lay the foundation for future educational and employment self-sufficiency in the Twin Cities’ African population. That’s cool, meaningful work — and it’s something that doesn’t always show up on a ledger sheet. That’s why we had to share this story.

CMM Changes One Girl’s Life Forever.

Recently, Abdi shared an amazing story with us. He had gotten a handwritten note from a client that retold her story and showed just how important CMM is to the community. We love it because it showcases not just how crucial the help the CMM provides, but also how Abdi was born to do this job — and born to inspire others to help too. Here’s what the letter said.

The last 2 years have been a challenging period for my family. As my daughter turned 14 years old, she befriended girls from her school and started committing one crime after another. Slowly, she ran away from home, dropped out of school, and became homeless. Letter after letter come in from police, schools, and courts with dire consequences. I feared for her life and at one point thought of moving [us back] to Africa to save my daughter and family since I could not stomach the idea of my daughter going to jail at the age of 14 years in America. 

As a single mother of two children, the problems my daughter was facing had a huge impact on my mental and emotional health, and yet I could not fix the situation. I do not speak English and did not understand the criminal justice system. She had five cases against her and had gone missing. Finally, I gave up and said “let them take her away.” 

My hope came back when the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office informed me that the court had decided to refer all 5 cases to CMM’s African Youth Diversion Program. I was very happy since I already knew Abdi and trusted him. He was aware of my daughter’s situation and I knew he would help us. Abdi has his heart and mind on helping low-income families like mine and sees potential in our children even when parents, like me, have doubts.

With time, he developed diversion contracts for all the cases while addressing the underlying causes of my daughter’s behaviors. Abdi conducted family mediation for us and I was happy to receive my daughter back home. He enrolled her back into school and has met with her and the entire family on a weekly basis. My daughter is doing well in school and would like to go to law school and become an Attorney one day so that she can help others like she was helped by Abdi.

I mean, how can you not love that? We think it’s a beautiful illustration of the exact type of organizations that can build a community we want — and build it together. We’re proud to work with CMM on their website redesign and help spread their message of justice. We followed our principles of design to make sure every person who landed on the website knew how to access the information they needed. If you’re curious to see more of what we worked on with CMM, check out their website.

Center for Multicultural Mediation Minneapolis Website Redesign

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