The Umoja program 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. Umoja provides programming, curriculum, training, assessment, and knowledge sharing to colleges across the state as well as strengthens relationships with transfer partner institutions and cultivates Umoja programming with secondary schools. Umoja plays a significant role in the equity work in the community college system to close the achievement gap, especially for historically under resourced students.

Background and History

Umoja, a Kiswahili word meaning unity, is a community and critical resource dedicated to enhancing the cultural and educational experiences of African American and other students. The program celebrates seven values in African culture: unity, self-determination, collective responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. A foundation of the mission is the belief 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. Education is a liberatory act designed to empower all students to critique, engage, and transform deleterious social and institutional practices locally and globally, educating the whole student–body, mind, and spirit. Informed by an ethic of love and its vital power, the Umoja Community deliberately engages students as full participants in the construction of knowledge and critical thought.

In 2008, California Community Colleges Board of Governors recognized Umoja as a statewide student success program. At that time, there were 15 identifiable programs in the California Community College system using culturally relevant African American student success practices. The program has expanded to support our students at 70+ community colleges. The state of California established an ongoing $2.5 million allocation in the 2017 California State budget.

Resources and Tools

Contact Us

For assistance, please contact UmojaPrograms@CCCCO.edu.