United African Organization

UAO aims to serve as the African Community Resource Clearinghouse wherein constituents gather, access information, share experiences, exchange views, and coordinate organizational capacity development. UAO's hub of resources on this website is intended to assist community members in navigating services, programs and resources that are available to help them cope better in the United States.

UAO Releases New African Community Report

For Immediate Release

September 1, 2022

United African Organization releases new demographic and needs assessment study of the African Community in Illinois

New report reveals a large, growing and diverse community of more than 128,000 living in neighborhoods and cities across the state.

CHICAGO, IL (September 1, 2022) – As the Black immigrant and refugee community grows in Illinois, it is important to have an understanding of the basic characteristics and needs of the community. Having a profile of the community is the first step in developing responsive public and private programs and policies, and in educating the general public about their contributions.

According to the American Community Survey, 2015-2019, about 36 cities in Illinois have at least 500 African residents. The African population in Chicago is the largest at 47,277, followed by Evanston at 3,725 and Bolingbrook at 2,507. Most of the large African populations are in cities near Chicago, but many are in other parts of Illinois, such as Rock Island, Springfield and East Moline.

“This new report will inform our priorities in public policy advocacy, community organizing as well as designing innovative programs or expanding existing services to address community needs, including immigration, health, economic security, youth development, access to public benefits and many more,” said Nancy Asirifi-Otchere, Executive Director of the United African Organization (UAO).

“The report shows that we are the most educated immigrant population and our skills are central to the state’s labor force,” added Dr. Eustace Kaijage, UAO board member and Black immigrant who has called Illinois home for more than fifty years.

Key Characteristics of the African community in Illinois:

  • Africans and their families are much younger than other Illinois residents. About 31 percent are children aged 0-17 years, compared with 23 percent of other Illinoisans.
  • Africans are more likely to be in their prime working years: about 41 percent of Africans are aged 18-44 years, compared to 36 percent of other Illinoisans. Only about 7 percent of Africans are 65 years or older while 15 percent of other Illinois residents are 65 years or older.

  • Africans are highly educated. About 46 percent have at least a bachelor’s degree, compared to only 35 percent of non-Africans in Illinois.

  • Africans are more likely to be in the labor force, to be employed, and to be self-employed. About 74 percent of Africans are “in the labor force,” meaning they are working or looking for work, compared with 65 percent of other Illinois residents. Africans are also more likely to be self-employed: about 8 percent of Africans are self-employed compared with 6 percent of other persons in Illinois.

  • The jobs held by some fit the picture of persons doing some of the hardest and lowest-paying jobs in the service economy. The lives of these persons can be improved by supporting statewide efforts to improve wages and conditions for al lower-wage workers.

  • Some struggle with education credentials exemplified by the fact that many come here highly trained but can’t find work in their original careers. They often deal with the issue of under-employment.

  • Most African immigrants and refugees speak English very well. Only a relatively small portion – less than 2 percent – do not speak English at all, according to the American Community Survey. About 73 percent of Africans immigrants and refugees report that they speak English “very well” or that they speak only English.


United African Organization is a dynamic coalition of African community-based associations dedicated to social justice, civic participation, and empowerment of African immigrants and refugees in Illinois.

For more information, visit www.uniteafricans.org or call 312-949-9980


Click Here to Read the Full Report

Standing Together for Justice & Dignity

June 1, 2020AdminAdvocacy, Blog

United African Organization stands in solidarity with the Floyd family as we mourn the tragic death of George Floyd. Their loss is our loss. We feel the pain and grieve with them.

As African immigrants and refugees, we live and experience discrimination everyday of our lives. We believe it is time for change. We need a world where we are not judged by the color of our skin but by the content of our character.

Amidst our pain and anguish, we remain hopeful as we see young people of all races and ethnicity stepping up and speaking out to demand dignity for Black lives.

This moment presents an opportunity for the US to make radical and transformational changes at city, county, state and federal levels that curb police brutality and dismantle systemic racism.

As we mourn, we commit ourselves to  organize and hold institutions of power accountable. And we remain resolute and relentless in the quest for justice and dignity.

Black Lives Matter!


Godfrey Chinomina, Board Chair


Every African Counts in 2020 Census

April 13, 2020AdminAdvocacy, Blog, Resources










Attend Community Dialogues on the 2020 Census

  • April 25, 2020
  • March 28, 2020
  • February 22, 2020
  • January 25, 2020
  • January 18, 2020



Tab3 content here.




2020 Travel Ban

February 3, 2020NancyAdvocacy, Blog, Immigration

On January 31, 2020, the Trump administration issued a presidential proclamation that expands the Travel Ban to nationals of 6 new countries: Nigeria, Eritrea, Sudan, Tanzania, Myanmar, Kyrgyzstan. This is effective 12:01 am EST on February 21, 2020.


UAO Reaffirms Dignity of All Immigrants and Refugees Amid Racist Comments from White House

January 12, 2018AdminAdvocacy, Blog, Immigration
January 12, 2018
Nancy Asirifi-Otchere, United African Organization, 312-949-9980


United African Organization Reaffirms Dignity of All Immigrants and Refugees Amid Racist Comments from White House

United African Organization condemns President Trump’s derogatory remarks yesterday about Black immigrants from Africa and Haiti as shocking and shameful. Once again, refugees and immigrants are faced with an attack on our basic dignity.

For the past year, we have faced executive orders banning refugees and individuals from African and Muslim countries from entering the country. Many Africans coming into the USA were detained and, in many cases, sent back. We have seen the dismantling of the U.S. refugee program, the rescinding of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for hundreds of thousands Black and Brown immigrants terminated.


Nancy Asirifi-Otchere issued the following statement in response to yesterday’s offensive comments from the White House:

“Dismissing people from countries whose populations who are not white, as ‘not welcome’ is racist. Yesterday’s remarks from the White House do not represent American values and disrespects the humanity of millions of people.

We are disgusted by the president’s plan to use undocumented young people as bargaining chips to scrap current legal family-based immigration and the diversity visa program. These are some of the limited programs that allow Africans to make the US a new home.”

United African Organization stands with all marginalized communities and reaffirms the dignity of all immigrants and refugees. Additionally,

We Demand a Clean Dream Act that provides a pathway to legal status.
We Demand Protection for beneficiaries of of Temporary Protected Status
We Oppose the Family Ban
We Oppose Elimination of the Diversity Visa Program
We Oppose Separation of Families

DACA Recission – What You should Know

The Trump administration announced that they are ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The future of nearly a million young people are on the line. Since 2012, the DACA program has opened doors for employment, opportunities for education, and provided protection from deportation for beneficiaries. It’s up to us to act now.


New Applicants:

  • New initial DACA applications will not be accepted after September 5, 2017. Your application must be received by September 5th to be considered for DACA as a new applicant. Text “DACA” to 630-524-4106 for a list of low cost legal service providers.

Work Permits:

  • If your DACA work permit expires before March 5, 2018, and you want to renew, DHS must receive your renewal application before October 5, 2017. Applications will not be accepted after October 5th. (Applicable only through October 5th)]
  • If your DACA work permit expires after March 5, 2018, you will not be able to apply to renew. Please consult an attorney to review your options.

Advance Parole:

  • If you are outside the country with advance parole, make sure to return right away and while your advance parole and EAD are valid. DHS has stated that it will generally honor previously granted advance paroles, but that it retains the authority to revoke or terminate an approved advance parole. The safest route is to return as soon as possible.
  • If you have been granted advance parole under DACA but have not yet left the United States, speak with an attorney to determine potential risks before doing anything.
  • As of today (September 5th), DHS is NOT granting any new applications for advance parole even if your DACA is still valid.


If Your Work Permit Expires:

  • You have the right to work legally until your work permit’s expiration date.
  • Your employer does not have the right to ask you whether you are a DACA recipient or how you got your work permit.
  • Your employer does not have the right to fire you, put you on leave, or change your work status until after your work permit has expired. If your expiration date is nearing, your employer may ask you for an updated work permit but cannot take any action against you until after it is expired. (See info above about your potential eligibility to renew)
For more information about your rights as an employee see this advisory by the National Immigration Law Center: https://www.nilc.org/issues/ daca/daca-and-workplace- rights/.

Supreme Court votes 4-4 on DACA+ and DAPA

June 22, 2016NancyAdvocacy, Blog

Extension of DACA and Approval of DAPA by the Supreme Court

by Robert Giles, UAO Intern-2016

With President Obama’s executive action for the implementation of DAPA and the expanded DACA having been blocked and returned to the lower court due to a 4-4 split decision by the Supreme Court Justices, much is at stake regarding the upcoming presidential election and the future appointment of a 9th Justice. Many in the African immigrant communities will fully understand and appreciate the implications that such programs, or lack thereof, could possibly have on them and their families regarding temporary protection from deportation and newly permitted work authorization. With the recent deadlocked decision and the impending termination of the Obama Administration, there is much to be concerned about regarding the livelihoods of such immigrant families and the policies concerning deferred action that directly affect them.

Read more →

Statement on Alie Kabba

Statement of UAO Board President on Dr. Alie Kabba:

It is with dismay that we learn of United African Organization (UAO) Executive Director, Dr. Alie Kabba’s arrest and detention by the Sierra Leone government for the third time in under 30 days.

Dr. Kabba, on a visit to Sierra Leone, was arrested a day after he gave an interview to the local Radio Democracy 98.1 FM station, during which he criticized the ruling government for corruption and nepotism.
We, as the largest African coalition in the United States, unequivocally condemn his arrest and call for his immediate unconditional release, acquittal and return back to the U.S.
“We call on President Ernest Koroma of Sierra Leone to end the politically motivated persecution of Alie Kabba whose only crime is that he is an outspoken and fearless opposition leader with an unblemished record of fighting for democracy, rule of law, human rights and social justice”, says UAO Board Chair Godfrey Chinomona. “We demand his unconditional release and return of his seized U.S. passport.” Read more →
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United African Organization
6042 S Indiana Avenue
Chicago, IL. 60637
Phone: (312) 949-9980
Email: info@uniteafricans.org
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