Photo credit: Teju Oladipo

The Umoja Black Community Engagement Program is a recently established, student led program at Carleton University. Umoja is a Swahili word that means “unity”. When founding the program, our team handpicked this name to represent our dedication to this Pan-Africanist principle in the struggle against anti-Black racism.

Umoja is committed to the academic, professional, and personal empowerment of African, Caribbean, and Black (ACB) communities in the Ottawa region. Our goal is to act as a hub for the ACB community out of Carleton University that will connect ongoing efforts to address anti-Black racism in post-secondary education.

The Background

Due to the systemic nature of anti-Black racism in Canadian society, many of Carleton’s ACB students face financial barriers every day, such as affording food, rent, and transportation, in addition to the challenges and costs of attending university. As prices rise, vulnerable students are facing dire situations and additional stress. Notably:

  • Over half of the Black population in Ottawa are children and youth (aged 0 – 29)
  • Youth (aged 15 – 24) racialized as Black in Ottawa are over 3x more likely to be unemployed than the general population in Ottawa
  • The average income of the general population is $41, 055 vs the average income of ACB Canadians is $23,712

*Source: Ending Anti-Black Racism – Ottawa Neighbourhood Equity Index

The Rollout

Our immediate focus is supporting students. This initiative is a way for the Carleton community to alleviate the economic disparities experienced by ACB students. This fund will provide support to African, Caribbean and Black (ACB) Carleton students to help reduce financial barriers during their academic journey. Please consider making a donation to support our ACB students’ needs.

The Impact

The Umoja Student Support Fund provides an avenue for community supporters and allies to have a lasting impact on the economic, social, & cultural experience of ACB students and Racialized youth in the Carleton community. Any funds acquired above and beyond the target will be used to support the establishment of a culture of inclusivity and belonging at Carleton University and the National Capital Region through supporting programming and public education initiatives.

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