Professors Troy Stevenson, Tonya Hersch, Rinetta Early, Shaquam Edwards, and Walter Turner, along with Umoja Advisory Board member Rose Jaques, attended this year's UMOJA XII Conference; held November 3 through 5 in Los Angeles, California. The conference was also attended by four College of Marin (COM) Umoja students d'Artagnan Connor, Taria Cordova, Larnice Mitchell, and Brishay Rackley. The theme of this year's conference was "Starting with Your Why: A Foundation for Student Success." This was an important year for Umoja at COM, as 2016 marked the first full year of the project.
The conference, presented in partnership with the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office, focused on Umoja practices behind student success. The theme emphasized examination and articulation of the project’s work so that students are able to understand the intent behind it. This, in turn, enables students to connect their own why to their academics and lived experiences. In addition to attending workshops and breakout sessions, conference attendees heard from keynote speakers Nate Howard and Tavis Smiley.
Nate Howard is a professional speaker, poet, educator, and social entrepreneur who challenges school systems to recognize that poetry and public speaking are vital for the development of youth, giving them the courage to find their story to challenge the status quo.
Through his work as a broadcaster, author, publisher, advocate, and philanthropist Tavis Smiley has emerged as an outstanding voice for change. He is currently the host of the late-night television talk show Tavis Smiley on PBS, as well as The Tavis Smiley Show from Public Radio International (PRI).
PHOTOS Pictured in photo 1 (left to right): Troy Stevenson (Umoja staff), d'Artagnan Connor (Umoja student), Delvante Gallon ( Umoja student), Walter Turner (Umoja staff)
Pictured in photo 2 (left to right): Taria Cordova (student), Shaquam Edwards (Umoja Advisory Board) Rose Jacques (Umoja Advisory Board), Nequeshe Dyer (Umoja peer advisor), Tonya Hersch (COM faculty) , Rinetta Early (Umoja staff), Larnice Mitchell (Umoja student), Brishay Rackley (Umoja student)