In 2012, the Black Graduate Students Association, with the assistance of My Sister's Keeper launched the initiative for the first cultural celebration at Illinois State University. At the time, we were asked to justify the "need" for such a cultural celebration.
As an association that is committed to advocating for students, we stand on our belief that Umoja: Black Graduation Celebration provides a space for community celebration and awareness. Umoja has since received national attention from Buzzfeed and received recognition from as far away as Taiwan.
Because of the initiative of the Black Graduate Student Association, Illinois State University now has four cultural celebrations that celebrate the unique experiences of underrepresented students.
Images from Umoja 2017