Mar. 10, 2022 – “What I had to do then is buy into the system. So all my friends were White because I wanted to stay sober. For those seven years, I did whatever it took, aside break the law, to stay sober. That didn’t make me feel good because I wasn’t with people who look like me,” Hayden said.

In response, Hayden, along with Peter Bell, Jim Bransford, and other Black people from St. Paul and Minneapolis, started the first Black AA group in the state of Minnesota, adding Afrocentric supplements to the standard 12-step program. 

In 1976, Hayden and his friend Henry Sullivan also co-founded Turning Point  which initially started as a co-ed halfway house serving 16 people, with a $25,000 grant. The group continued to support each other and the community in sobriety, relying on guidance from elders. 

Turning Point continues to evolve to address the needs of the community, over time developing eight facilities across the Twin Cities with offerings like residential and outpatient treatment, low-income family housing, and community space. 

Today, they are focused on increasing access to culturally specific care at other agencies, Hayden said. “There will always be more White people treating Black people than Black people…  So now what we do is, we train everybody how to work with African American men and women.”


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