Who we are
Umoja, (a Kiswahili word meaning unity) is a community and critical resource dedicated to enhancing the cultural and educational experiences of Black/African American and other students. We believe that when the voices and histories of students are deliberately and intentionally recognized, the opportunity for self-efficacy emerges and a foundation is formed for academic success. Umoja actively serves and promotes student success for all students through a curriculum and pedagogy responsive to the legacy of the African and African American Diasporas.
Our community, supports the academic success of all students toward defined educational goals. We commit to collaborating with campuses at a local level so that there is integration of the core Umoja Community with the particular college mission goals, strategic plan and student equity efforts. Come see what our program is all about!
Our Community Guidelines are connected to the Umoja Practices set by Umoja Community Education Foundation, also known as Umoja Statewide. Please abide by these guidelines when visiting, interacting with or being a part of our community.
- Space, Brave Space
- We will honor the existence of all people by not dismissing or minimizing anyone based on “biological sex, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, cultural background, age, or physical or mental ability,” (Advocates for Youth). Furthermore, our Brave Spaces are “never without the risk of discomfort for those participating, but they allow for a more enriching and extensive dialogue while simultaneously providing tools of support for those who are most vulnerable,” (NASPA Policy and Practice Series, Page 9). This is connected to the Umoja Practices, Ethic of Love—The Affective Domain, Encircling Diversity, The Porch, Language as Power, Intentional and Deliberate, and Mattering. (Umoja Practices, Pages 1-6).
- Active listening
- We intentionally listen to, understand, observe, show full attentiveness and then provide appropriate feedback if necessary. This allows thoughtful conversation and helps us “seek deep understanding and celebration of the way someone different than ourselves speaks, thinks, imagines and becomes”. This is connected to the Umoja Practices Encircling Diversity, The Porch, and Ethic of Love—The Affective Domain. (Umoja Practices, Page 1, 2 and 6).
- Things that we talk about stays here
- We are mindful when sharing discussion topics outside of Umoja, and in particular do not share individual identities to maintain confidentiality (personal privacy). By intentionally and deliberately not disclosing one’s identity you are showing respect, which can also be seen as a form of care. This is connected to the Umoja Practices Intentional and Deliberate, and Ethic of Love—The Affective Domain, (Umoja Practices, Page 1).
- Mandated Reporter Disclosure: Campus employees are mandated reporters and are required to share serious information that demands high-level support.
- We will respect each person that is talking
- We will allow people to have the mic (speak without interruption) and not dismiss or minimize individual’s thoughts, experiences or expressions. This is connected to the Umoja Practices, Mattering and Ethic of Love—The Affective Domain, (Umoja Practices, Page 1 and 5).
- We will honor the space, people and discussions by actively listening, using inclusive language, maintaining confidentiality, speaking/moving with compassion and care and not dismissing, minimizing or interrupting any person that is talking. We will honor the cultural relevance of having a Black/African cultural framework that strives to nurture the Black/African community while engaging the larger community with Black/African cultural and educational experiences or perspectives. This is connected to the Umoja Statewide Mission, as well as the Umoja Practices, Encircling Diversity, The Porch, Language as Power, Intentional and Deliberate, Ethic of Love—The Affective Domain, and Mattering. (Umoja Practices, Pages 1-6).
- Inclusive language
- When referring to everyone, we properly acknowledge all people. By doing this, we ignite the “conscious experience of wielding language” to connect everyone and disrupt discriminatory isms and phobias that will otherwise dismiss, exclude or lessen people’s experience and identity. An example is saying, “you all/everybody” rather than “you guys” as everyone you are speaking or referring to may not identify as a “guy”. This is connected to the Umoja Practices, Language as Power and Ethic of Love—The Affective Doman, (Umoja Practices, Page 1 and 3).
- Always root everything in love
- We speak, create and discuss with compassion and care in the learning community. In all that we do, using “the ethic of love implies a holistic approach—Body, Mind, Spirit”. This is connected to the Umoja Practice Ethic of Love—The Affective Domain. (Umoja Practices, Page 1).