ABOUT UMOJA: BLACK GRADUATION CELEBRATION
Nkabom ma nkoso
LET RESISTANCE BE OUR MOTTO
The Illinois State University (ISU) Umoja: Black Graduation Celebration was born from the hearts and minds of African American students, faculty, alumni and staff. It arose from a desire to acknowledge and celebrate the unique educational challenges, experiences, struggles and successes of students within the context of African and African-American culture. Within this cultural context, the event serves individual, group and socio-cultural purposes. Primarily, the event seeks to create a unique and culturally rich space that celebrates the successful completion and the awarding of degrees to graduates with the support of their families, faculty and staff.
In addition, the event serves as unifying symbol of perseverance in the recognition of a shared socio-cultural, political and educational history. Conceptualized within the African American tradition of transformative resistance, the event seeks to foster and extend dialogues that promote self-determination as it relates to retention. Finally, the event seeks to expand and ignite a counter narrative that disrupts the prevalence of deficit thinking and theorizing in education.
The mission of the Umoja Steering Committee is to provide a graduation celebration that is representative of African American and African tradition, heritage, culture, and legacy. We want to encourage students to set their sights on the completion of their chosen majors, and as a recruitment tool to motivate others to pursue advanced degrees at ISU after seeing the success of their peers.
Over the years, Black graduation recognition ceremonies have become an essential expression of a rite of passage at many colleges and universities throughout the nation and it is our hope that Umoja will serve as a tool to encourage academic excellence and community responsibility. We encourage all black and underrepresented students across the campus to participate in the event.
OTHER BLACK GRADUATION CELEBRATIONS IN US
University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign
University of California, Riverside
University of Washington
Columbia University – New York
University of Michigan
California State University – Long Beach
University of Southern California
University of Texas at Austin