The College of Marin Umoja program is open to all eligible students and is designed specifically to increase the retention, success, graduation, and transfer rates for students of African ancestry. All college of Marin students are encouraged to participate.
Umoja, (a Kiswahili word meaning unity) is a community of educators and learners committed to the academic success, personal growth, and self-actualization of African American and other students. The Umoja Community seeks to educate 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.
The Village is a dedicated Umoja space on Tuesdays and Thursdays. However, Umoja students are welcome anytime—including the hours shared with the tutoring center.
Umoja is a community of educators and learners committed to academic success, personal growth, and self-actualization of African American and other students. The Umoja Community seeks to educate the whole student body, mind, and spirit. Informed by an ethic of love and its vital power, the Umoja Community will deliberately engage students as full participants in the construction of knowledge and critical thought.
COM Umoja Statement on Racism and the Deaths of Breonna Taylor, Douglas Lewis, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd
As many of us long for a return to normal amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with positive signs like the economy slowly re-opening and our students graduating, African American communities are rocked by the brutal normalcy of racial terror. The murders of Breonna Taylor, Douglas Lewis, Ahmaud Arbery, and the public lynching of George Floyd by the knee of a police officer in recent weeks are horrific and tragic, yet, sadly, they are not exceptional. We cannot long for a return to normal, we must long for change and justice.
The righteous rage erupting in response to racial oppression and police brutality across the country is a testament to the savage injustices visited daily upon Black communities. As Martin Luther King Jr. declared, “A riot is the voice of the unheard.” It is also the voice of justice in an unjust world. It is not the job of the privileged to police the rage of the oppressed.
Compounding the trauma of explicit racial violence, staggering evidence reveals the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on the Black community. COVID-19 is killing African Americans at a much higher rate precisely because of the deeply embedded racism in all spheres of American life- racism that is not about good cops/bad cops or good people/bad people, but racism that is institutionalized, systemic, and implicit. This pandemic lays bare, another normal: The gross racial disparities in health and medical care.
This is indeed a frightening time for our African American students, staff, and faculty, and the greater community. As College of Marin, it is important for us to continue to provide safe spaces, even in the midst of our online communities, for recognizing the continual trauma that is affecting our community, the need to access physical and psychological support, and to promote overall self-care.
We speak of equity at COM, yet equity cannot exist without racial justice. We cannot allow equity to be an empty buzzword used to maintain the status quo. As Angela Davis said, “In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist. We must be anti-racist.” This requires us to speak up and take action, to actively dismantle structures of white supremacy and whiteness, to center race in all discussions of educational equity.
We look forward to COM being united in standing with Umoja faculty, staff, and students in demanding equity that is real, as it is long overdue.