The ASTEP Learning Community and the Skyline College BSU attended the annual conference of the statewide African American student learning community, UMOJA, on November 8 & 9 at the College of Alameda. The students were joined by Professors Phillip Williams, Kwame Thomas, Tony Jackson & Phyllis Taylor. This conference focuses on and encourages student attendance and involvement. Please continue to read some of the student’s feedback of their two days.

Richard Porter:

The UMOJA IX Conference held this year at the College of Alameda was a call to urgency as advertised! Attending this conference brought in to focus many of the issues African-Americans are striving to overcome statewide as well as nationally, academically and as a people. The conference also served as a conduit to connect students that are interested in attending an H.B.C.U. with counselors and recruiters from Clark Atlanta University, Fisk University, Hampton University, Howard University, Philander Smith College, Talladega College, and Wilberforce University. During breakout sessions, students were encouraged to share experiences and ideas to promote unity and community among California African-American Community College students and their advisers.

Shaquil Stewart:

The UMOJA IX Conference held this year at the College of Alameda had the theme the “Fierce Urgency of Now”. It was a great experience for me as I got to experience and discuss the many issue facing African Americans in college. The different workshops gave me a chance to learn about what can help me as I begin to transfer from community college to a University and to know the tools to help mentor other African American males who don’t have the same opportunities as I have to help them reach their potential.

Chanel Daniels (tutor in the Learning Center):

The tone of the statewide 2013 Umoja Conference was refreshingly sobering. With a focus on opening up old wounds in order to begin the healing, students, faculty, and all in between were jerked into the reality of “The Urgency of Now.” The role of media consciousness as a crucial tool for empowerment was shouted from the rooftops. Self-love and the debunking of stereotypical “blackness” took a front seat. And for those of us who were willing to be vulnerable, the chills felt only echoed our sentiments of appreciation for this sanctuary of healing.

Ashanti McLeod:

The fall 2013 UMOJA conference was an eye opener for me. The theme of the conference was “The Fierce Urgency of Now”. That phrase really hits home for me because I am all about taking action now in order to create a better future. For me the biggest problem about taking action is knowing where and how to start. Attending workshops on leadership at the UMOJA conference gave me the tools and support I need to effectively continue on my journey of action. Being at the UMOJA conference made me feel a part of a community that truly believes in me and everything I will became.

Article by Phyllis Taylor.