Covering the side of the Umoja Center, a mural was painted by a Bay area nonprofit organization called The Bay Area Mural Program to highlight Black and African American culture. The mural is a representation of excellence among students of color and provides a colorful piece of art to welcome the community to Umoja on Wednesday, Feb. 15 on East Campus. (Yarrow Hogan)
SBCC’s Umoja program celebrates Black history, culture and identity, extending to the community
Named after the Kiswahili word for unity, the Umoja Program is a resource at City College that supports and embraces students of color throughout their cultural and educational journey, creating a community that is dedicated to the success of the students.
Standing as its own enclave inside the Center for Equity and Social Justice, Umoja has opened its doors for everyone, welcoming them into a room with colorful adornments, couches, snacks, symbols of past students achievements and posters of prominent Black figures lining the walls.
Among California Community Colleges, Umoja is a statewide effort with a focused goal of uplifting and supporting Black and African American students through their education. Providing scholarships and grants, counselors, events, workshops, and classes specifically for Umoja Students.
“We are a community,” Jaili Reed, a peer mentor at Umoja said. “We learn new things about the Black community and the African American community everyday.”
Umoja student Keenan Kelton praised the impact that the program has had on his college journey, emphasizing that Umoja has become his community and family on campus.
February was full of events and workshops at Umoja to celebrate Black History Month. The CESJ hosted a new event called Black History 365 where students, faculty and families in the community came together for a week of activities.
On Wednesday, Feb. 15, lighting up the Umoja Center, the community gathered to enjoy a barbecue, crafting activities, football, and gathering.
At the end of February, Umoja organized a vision board scrapbook day where students created a circle full of scissors, papers, magazines and markers. While music blasted behind them, the whole group bonded together in a creative and welcoming space in a room full of colorful materials and endless magazine pages.