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 Programs | Services| Activities


Core Services 

The mission of Umoja Black Scholars is to create a holistic and responsive Afrocentric environement that promotes the successful course completionsemester-semester persistence, certificate and degree attainment, and/or tranfer to a four-year university for African American students at Los Angeles Valley College. The major areas of focus include: cultural and community awareness, leadership, professional development, social and cross-cultural enrichment, and retention. 

These objectives are achieved by providing students with the following services and activities:

  • Dedicated 1-on-1 Academic counseling
  • Cohorted Learning Community (Fall '19)
  • Career Guidance and Support        
  • Program Orientations
  • Study Jams/Tutoring
  • Academic & Cultural Workshops
  • Cultural Enriching Field Trips 
  • Job Skills Training
  •  HBCU College Tours
  • Leadership & Life Skills Development
  • Book Grants and Academic Accessories
  • Faculty, Staff, and Peer Mentors (Fall '19)
  • Computer & Printing Services 
  • HS Outreach and Mentorship
  • Co-Op Service Learning Opportunities


Umoja Community

Beginning Fall 2019, LAVC Black Scholars will become an affiliate and member-college of the Umoja Community. Umoja (a Kiswahili word meaning unity) is a growing state-wide community and critical resource of and for two-year and four-year colleges dedicated to enhancing the cultural and educational experiences of African American and other students. On January 14, 2008 the Umoja Community was officially recognized by the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges (BOGCCC) as a legitimate statewide student success program. Following this recognition, the BOGCCC awarded Umoja twice, once in 2015 ($1.0M) and again in 2018 (2.5M) as part of a committed partnership to create greater infrastructure and targeted support, interventions, and success for underrepresented African American students underserved at their respective colleges. Given this, we believe that Umoja provides LAVC Black Scholars a great opportunity to progressively scale to address te disproportionate impact and exacerbated achievement gaps challenging the success of Black students on our campus. Through research-based and data-driven practices, curriculum, and androgogy that are responsive to the legacy of the African Diasporas, we believe that the narratives of our students can be intentionally amplified and recognized to further create imperative opportunities for sense of belonging, engagement, and self-efficacy emerges tat are foundational to supporting personal and collective African American academic success.

Program Criteria

When defining an (Umoja) Black Scholar student at LAVC, we identify Scholars based on the following:

An (Umoja) Black Scholar is defined broadly – all incoming, present, and matriculated LAVC students that meet the below criteria:

  • Has a student ID number 
  • Is enrolled in/completes six or more units a semester and/or 18 units in an academic year      
  • Maintains a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA at the end of each academic year. 
  • Commits to a minimum of 3 hours per week or 25 hrs per semester of (Umoja) Black Scholars tutoring/study hall.  
  • Is enrolled in or has been enrolled in an (Umoja) Black Scholars learning community course, whether that class is linked, cohort, (Umoja) Black Scholars supported or a stand-alone Black       Scholars course.  
  • Is using or has used (Umoja) Black Scholars counseling and educational planning    
  • Is using or has used (Umoja) Black Scholars-sponsored resources, student services, or academic support services. 
  • Is participating or has participated in at least two of the following (Umoja) Black Scholars sponsored activities: workshops, events, leadership activities, club; or HBCU, UC, CSU, and other               college tours.     
  • Students must fillout an Umoja Black Scholars Application Form.

Core Activities

Woke Wednesdays

A foundational three-part series focused on elevating critical and social consciousness through cross-cultural engagement and programming that includes:

 Open Mic  

A day of various forms of spoken word expression that included rap and lyricism, poetry, song, karaoke, and other performances showcasing the co-curricular talents of various Los Angeles Valley students.

Open Mic Poet 1Woke Wednesday Poet 2Woke Wednesday Poet 3


 Woke Wednesday:  Campus News Segment  


 Woke Wednesday 2018: Poetry Slam  



The second installment provides a Woke Wednesday Speak Easycritical discussion focus for the three-part Woke Wednesdays series where Black Scholars and mentors collectively probe various socio-cultural contexts and issues germane to the Black/African American experience.  For example, in collaboration with Dr. Bill Wallis and Dr. James Bland, Black Scholars successfully provided a Faculty Insights workshop to the English department on teaching men of color which positioned Black LAVC students' voices at the forefront of the conversation. Within the SpeakEasy programming, My Brother's and My Sister's Keeper initiative was created and added for more targeted gender-specific support and "real talks for male and female scholars to foster stronger bonds within the mentorship and community elements of the Umoja Black Scholars program. 


 Distinguished Speaker Series  

The third and final installment of Woke Wednesdays engages the Umoja Black Scholars and LAVC community by bringing esteemed scholars, cultural leaders, and professional experts together to discuss various intersectional topics that provide insights, perspectives, and raise the cultural awareness and enrichment of our LAVC students, staff, faculty, and administration.