The Executive Director's Update - Friday, August 20, 2021

Dear Umoja,  

I hope that your summer has been restful and a replenishing time for you. As we gear up for the upcoming academic year, we have a lot to be hopeful and excited about. I am looking forward to sharing some news happening around Umoja in the coming days.   

We are preparing for an exciting year of collaborative and impactful programming and initiatives that support the success of our students and empower faculty. We will be unveiling our plans for the virtual Umoja XVII conference, to be held November 4-6, 2021. Thank you for your feedback on potential speakers. We can’t wait to partner with you on our workshops and speaker’s series! Stay tuned!  

The Umoja Newsletter: The Umoja Community is re-launching our newsletter and our team is elated to unveil it to you next week. We intend to include powerful information, opportunities, and announcements. The first newsletter shares some exciting news about new members of our team who have joined and spotlights an amazing Umoja alumnus, Antoinette Banks.  As we build it out, we plan to invite Umoja practitioners to contribute as well as guest writers. We will need your communal intelligence on best and promising practices that you are implementing at your colleges in your Umoja learning communities. You are our Power Base and we cannot make this work and this movement successful without you. Look for invitations to write and share. Please take the time to enjoy the newsletter.  

New Funding from the State of California: Earlier this year, with your help, we launched a campaign to increase funding for Umoja, the HBCU Transfer Guarantee program, and A2MEND. Our collective efforts paid off. As many of you have heard, Umoja received an increase in resources.  

What does this mean?  At this time, we know that more resources will go to Umoja college programming. We plan to address immediate issues such as enrollment/re-enrollment of our students and providing critical academic support resources. We are awaiting additional insight, directives, and guidelines from the Chancellor’s Office regarding the funding. The funding has not yet been released and won’t be released until new processes and procedures are established. Moving forward, there will be opportunities for Umoja practitioners to provide valuable input. More to come soon.

Welcome New Team Members: We are engaged in an aggressive effort to add to the brilliance of our statewide leadership. I’m happy to introduce some of our new team members who have joined us this month. Please welcome: 

  • Executive Assistant, Sparkle Durio 
  • Regional Coordinator 4, De’Von Walker 
  • Regional Coordinator 7, Mia Davis 

Departures: I wanted to share that, Jonathan Henderson, our San Diego Regional Coordinator has left Umoja to pursue other exciting opportunities. In the time that Jonathan was with Umoja, he made an immeasurable impact on our curriculum and program development. His thought partnership and passion for this work will be missed and we look forward to benefiting from the next chapter of his career.  

NaTisha Hutson, our greater Sacramento area Regional Coordinator has left us to pursue her graduate work. NaTisha was instrumental in developing a rite of passage program for women and served on several collaborative committees to strengthen our partnerships throughout California. 

We will be adding a northern California Regional Coordinator soon.

I'm excited to share that we are coming to closure on the Program Director position. I’ll be able to share more in the coming weeks. I want to assure you that we will be fully staffed and ready to support you as we launch an amazing year!  

Umoja continues to flow and flourish during these hazy times. When the road ahead seems unclear, the Umoja practices are one of the best foundational references. Consider our Ethic of Love —the willingness to share ourselves, our stories, our lives, our experiences to humanize.” As you navigate, recenter, and reconnect through this lens, know that you are making a difference in all that you give.

Please continue to take care of yourself and have a pleasant weekend!    

Nzingha Sonya Dugas

Executive Director

Publish Date: 
Friday, August 20, 2021

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