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Umoja Peace Center


 

The Umoja Peace Center (UPC) was founded in 2008 by a group of community members in Seattle’s Central District who joined forces in response to growing economic and social issues that disproportionately affected disenfranchised African-American youth. The group created a community-based youth center to provide programs to reduce anti-social behavior, juvenile delinquency, crime and violence. 

The mission of UPC is to inspire and empower youth through Positive Education, Art, Culture & Enterprise (P.E.A.C.E.). The center provides culturally relevant, out of school enrichment activities in the areas of technology, music, digital media production, leadership development and social entrepreneurship for youth and young adults.

UPC fulfills a unique niche in Seattle as an organization devoted to building job skills, confidence and cultural pride in young people of African descent. UPC builds strong roots by helping young people realize their full potential. Through education enhancement projects that build marketable skills, self confidence, cultural pride and identity, UPC is creating future leaders and innovators.

UPC needs funds to pay for learning materials for our Young Geniuses workshops and for expenses related to taking youth on field trips to gain knowledge and new experiences.  Your support is critical to realizing the vision of a vibrant community of lifelong learners whose creativity and ingenuity have a positive impact our local and global community.

UPC Activities: 
UPC’s work focuses on the arts, culture, technology and entrepreneurship. UPC leads workshops and tours to educate people about black history and culture in Seattle and carries out programs for children, teens and young adults.  UPC programs help young people gain skills and confidence as young artists, entrepreneurs, stakeholders, citizens and leaders. UPC changes lives through education, entertainment, cultural awareness, health and wellness initiatives, economic development and civic engagement. Core programs are carried out through:
 
--Classes and workshops.
--After school and drop in opportunities.
--Ongoing community projects and initiatives.
--Conferences, festivals and community gatherings.
--Use of the UPC facility for audio recording, a fashion design lab, video production
  studio, computer lab and library and reading room.
 
Community Events:  Each year UPC has had monthly meetings and events that bring people together to discuss issues impacting the black community.  These meetings and events help influence local policy decisions that impact Seattle’s black community.
 
The Young Geniuses Academy or YGA provides elementary and middle school students with culturally relevant, fun and educational experiences in Science Technology Engineering Art & Math--STEAM. The program is unique in that it instills pride by highlighting the contributions of people of African descent in the fields of science and art and explores practical applications in our daily lives.

Specifically the Young Geniuses Code Lab introduces youth to computer software development by working on fun projects including video games, websites, mobile apps and devices.  What makes YGA unique is a curriculum that incorporates teaching about African and African American culture and history.  We seek to not only provide youth with marketable skills, we also instill self confidence, cultural pride and identity.YGA is creating future leaders and innovators. Our coaches and mentors include working professionals who help youth develop fundamental skills and stay up to date on the technology that we see and use every day.

UPC is also known as the convener of annual Umoja Festival AKA “Umoja Fest” which is the largest annual summer festival in Seattle that celebrates African American culture.   A Seafair sanctioned event, the Umoja Festival and Parade has been a Seattle tradition for over six decades.  The word Umoja is a Swahili word which means "unity" which is the main theme of the festival.  An artistic and cultural extravaganza that uniquely touches the spirit of the community, the Umoja Fest has historically been the most unifying celebration in the black community, bringing people of all ethnic backgrounds together for a celebration of culture, education, social festivities and networking.  

UPC fulfills a unique niche in Seattle as an organization devoted to building job skills, confidence and cultural pride in young people of African descent.

Miss Umoja Fest Africatown Queen Scholarship Program
The Miss UmojaFest Africatown Queen Scholarship Program is run by the Umoja Peace Center and provides a scholarship to support the educational goals of outstanding young women 18-23 years old who are of African Descent.  The program is dedicated to building confidence and self-esteem, and providing a positive role model for girls and young women.  The Queen is selected based on her leadership skills, poise, community service and public speaking skills.