Akua Tay, founded Connect to Culture to bring the growing gap between generations and communities that expand past the D.C. area. (Photo courtesy of nappy.co)

By Tcherika Petit-Frere,
Special to the AFRO

Connect to Culture is partnering with the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation and DC Greens to host the event, Each One, Teach One on Sept. 16 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at The Well at Oxon Run.

Each One, Teach One is an event that combines digital empowerment and cultural appreciation, where workshops will be held to teach people how to navigate the Internet, how to set up their Web connections and even cybersecurity basics. The event will also explore wellness through food and nutrition, where participants will learn how to make African cuisine from food that grows at The Well.

Connect to Culture is a District nonprofit aimed at building a stronger community around African culture. They accomplish this by hosting tech, storytelling, cultural exchange and travel events.

“Our organization connects our communities to tech partners to get resources to help them better navigate the Internet,” said Akua Tay, founder of Connect to Culture. “We also, in-person, create cultural exchange activities that help folks get more acquainted with African culture, whether it’s through food, dance or music or a variety of activities.”

Some of the organization’s programs include, Back 2 Motherland, Building Communities, Come C2C, Connected to Queendom and Each One, Teach One. While all these programs embody its mission statement, one program, Back 2 Motherland, specifically focuses on books. While still in its early stages, the program allows participants to visit countries in West Africa and dive deep into Africa’s culture and history.

Another program, Come C2C allows participants to travel within the U.S. and is offered through Airbnb’s social impact experience portal. Connect to Culture programming will pop up on the experience section of the Airbnb website, where people can do tours and learn about African culture and history in the U.S.

Tay said she was inspired to create Connect to Culture after visiting Ghana for the first time with family in 2019 during the “Year of Return,” a campaign aimed at encouraging descendants of enslaved Africans to reconnect with the land of their ancestors.

“Being a first-generation American…when growing up, I’ve always had to, you know, explain to people how to pronounce [my name],” Tay said. But upon arriving in Ghana she said, “I felt at home when I got off the plane, and everyone knew how to pronounce my name…. The people and the vibe, it just felt like home, even though it [was] my first time.”

When Connect to Culture came to fruition, Tay was surprised by the overwhelming support for her nonprofit. People from all over the country–someone who had just traced their heritage and wanted to take the trip to the land of their ancestors or parents wanting to take their children to Africa–have sent her notes expressing interest in her organization.

“I thought that it was going to be an uphill battle to try to find people to connect with when, in fact, there’s an interest in it from people from around the country and from different places [and] from all different walks of life,” she said.

Tay attributes her nonprofit’s success not only to the people interested in learning African history and culture but also to her team members, whom she describes as “explorers at heart” and who are equally passionate about the mission.

“There’s a saying in Ghana, in the Akan language, Sankofa, it means go back and get it, go back and get your history,” Tay said. “We have a legacy to continue and are aware of that and are passionate and want to help move that legacy forward.”

You can learn more about Connect to Culture at their upcoming event on Sept. 16 at The Wells at Oxon Run, located at 300 Valley Ave. SE, in Washington, D.C.