ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Dionte Mitchell, better known as Mfalme, was incarcerated at 17 and spent nearly a quarter-century behind bars. Now, at 41-years old, Mitchell, along with his fraternity, Ujamaa Fraternal Dynasty, which he created while in prison in 2008, is hoping to guide the youth of Albany away from violence.
“This is just, just one avenue UFD is definitely an organization that we’re proposing as just one of many to address the problems that are in our community,” says Mitchell.
To address the problems in the community, Mitchell held a press conference outside of Kreative Ink, a tattoo shop on Quail Street in Albany, which was where two teens were shot last Wednesday. Their injuries are non-life-threatening. Mitchell says he believes in order for the youth not to engage in violence, they need different avenues to direct their energy. Which is what he hopes UFD can be.
“You’ve gotta get involved and engage them [teens and young adults]. Once you engage them, you find they’re not really bad kids. You know? They just need a little bit of time and attention,” Mitchell explains, “You have got to engage them and see what they like and you know, give them the direction and platform for them to direct their energy in ways that can be constructive and positive.”
15-year old Jaquavier Blunt says for him, he has already found a different avenue, which he credits to having a strong community supporting him. “Whatever you want in life. You can definitely achieve it. Again, in a community where some people are not pushed in the right path, you get pushed in a box. And think, ‘oh this is the only way to go.’ But, really, it’s so easy to step outside the box and the right people to give you the opportunities,” Blunt says.
Mitchell says anyone who needs support can contact UFD at www.ufdeez.org.