Being that the majority of people are away from their families when they are at school, it is important to have some sort of support system or a “home away from home.” That is what the Umoja Queens meeting hopes to be for African American women. On Sept. 26 there will be an Umoja Queens meeting, located in the HUB on campus.
“The Umoja Queens mentorship group was inspired by a group of students that identify as Black Womxn,” said Cookie Garrett, the coordinator of this event. This group strives to serve as professional role models to African American woman on campus.
The Umoja Queens group began one random day as a few ladies were at Lobos for lunch. While they were at lunch they were approached by several different women of color who were in awe of their group and wanted to be apart of it. Due to the happiness that radiated off of their faces, it encouraged these women to start this group in order to serve as mentors for those who needed it.
“We strive to support, encourage, and empower Black Womxn as they explore their personal values, beliefs and ideas during their matriculation at SSU,” said Cookie Garrett.
A big reason as to why this group is extremely important nowadays is because it allows African American students see themselves within both the faculty and staff on campus. This way the students can feel a sense of belonging as well as a support system.
At this event students can expect to branch out and meet other people from different communities at Sonoma State University that also share many of their identities. This group also spends a lot of their planning other events that may come about in the future. However, the main purpose behind this group is to provide Sonoma State students with some sort of “safe zone.”
Not only will this meeting encourage people to be more open about their life experiences, but it also aids them in building a strong network within the Sonoma State community. It allows people to recognize familiar faces around campus which begins the process of making the campus a more comfortable place.
“I think it is a great way for people to feel more comfortable on campus. It is an amazing source to not only feel safe but also know you have a support system,” said Codie Williams, a Sonoma State student.
It is important that these women feel an unconditional sense of comfort whenever they walk into these meetings. Not only that, but it is key for these women to realize that they are also coming together as a group to make a positive difference in this community.
“Identifying as an African-American is a huge symbol of power to me. Power is not in money, it is how I am able to make someone feel, by the color of my skin and the strength of my voice,” said Jazz Hill, a Sonoma State student.