The story and meaning of UBAKA
UBAKA, a Nigerian Igbo word, means “supreme wisdom & wealth.” When UBAKA was initially launched in fall 2007, there was a naming contest to create a name for the new program focused on African American students. A student named the program UBAKA (Utilizing, Brain power to Attain Knowledge Abundantly). The student’s last name happened to be “Ubaka.” Thanks to Malika Ubaka, the UBAKA name has a deep meaning and connection to Laney College students.
The Umoja Connection
In Spring 2016, UBAKA became affiliated with a national program committed to African American students: Umoja. As a Kiswahili word meaning unity, “Umoja” is a collection of colleges around the nation who are committed to enhancing the cultural and educational experiences of African American and other students. By becoming a part of the Umoja family, UBAKA joins a community of educators and students who believe 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. As an Umoja affiliated program, UBAKA will heighten the services it provides through a curriculum and programming that honors the legacy of African and African American Diasporas.
Umoja 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 will deliberately engage students as full participants in the construction of knowledge and critical thought.
The Umoja Community seeks to help students experience themselves as valuable and worthy of an education. The Umoja Community gains meaning through its connection to the African Diaspora. African and African American intellectual, cultural, and spiritual gifts inform Umoja Community values and practices. The Umoja Community seeks to nurture knowledge of and pride in these treasures. The learning experience within the Umoja Community will provide each individual the opportunity to add their voice and their story to the collective voices and stories of the African Diaspora.
African American students are inextricably connected to global struggles for liberation throughout the African Diaspora. In light of this, the Umoja Community views education as a liberatory act designed to empower all students to critique, engage, and transform deleterious social and institutional practices locally and globally. The Umoja Community will practice and foster civic engagement so that all its participants integrate learning and service. Likewise, the Umoja Community will instill in our students the knowledge and skills necessary to enable them to make positive differences in their lives and the lives of others.
Umoja Statewide Program Link: https://umojacommunity.org/