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UJIMA

ColleCtIve Work & responsIbIlIty The official newsletter of the University of Connecticut Organization of Black Social Work Students October 2013


Welcome to our Inaugural Issue!! The OBSWS is excited to bring you our first-ever monthly newsletter designed to keep you informed of our events as well as events from other sub-orgs. You will also find out what is happening locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. We will also profile OBSWS members each month who are already making their mark at UConn … could that be you? NEED A PHOTO HERE Stay connected – be involved! Together we can support each other and embody our organization’s motto … young, gifted and Black!

In this issue … o o o o

What does Ujima mean? Meet your Co-Chairs Meet the OBSWS Adviser What’s going on?


What does UJIMA mean?

If you know what Kwanzaa is, then you have heard the Swahili word Ujima before. For those unfamiliar with Kwanzaa, it was created to introduce and reinforce seven basic values of African culture which contribute to building and reinforcing family, community and culture among African American people as well as Africans throughout the world African community. These values are called the Nguzo Saba which in Swahili means the Seven Principles. Developed by Dr. Maulena Karenga, the Nguzo Saba stand at the heart of the origin and meaning of Kwanzaa, for it is these values which are not only the building blocks for community but also serve to reinforce and enhance them. Ujima represents the third day in this seven-day holiday and is Swahili for Collective Work and Responsibility. What Ujima stands for is building and maintaining our communities together, making our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems, and solving those problems together. This is what the OBSWS is about … working together and supporting each other at UConn, in the community, and across the country.


Meet your Co-Chairs Kimona Spencer is a 2nd year student in the XYZ method. Q: Where are you from? Q: Where did you go to undergrad? Q: What made you want to be a social worker? Q: Why did you want to be a co-chair of OBSWS? Q: What are your goals for OBSWS this year? Q: What are your goals for yourself this year? Q: What advice do you have for your fellow UConn SSW students? Q: What is your favorite quote?

Takaya Owens is a 1st year student in the Casework method. Q: Where are you from? Q: Where did you go to undergrad? Q: What made you want to be a social worker? Q: Why did you want to be a co-chair of OBSWS? Q: What are your goals for OBSWS this year? Q: What are your goals for yourself this year? Q: What advice do you have for your fellow UConn SSW students? Q: What is your favorite quote?


Meet you’re the OBSWS Adviser Dr. Kimberly Hardy is a member of the Casework faculty, Chair of the Black Studies Focused Area of Study & member of the Black Studies Project. Q: Where are you from? I was born in Washington, DC, but I grew up in Maryland. Where I’m from you’re pretty much from the whole DC/MD/Northern Virginia area because they’re so close together. Q: Where did you go to school? I started off at Montgomery Junior College, believe it or not. From there I went to Morgan State University, an HBCU in Baltimore, MD, where I earned my BSW in 1997. After that I earned my MSW in the advancedstanding program of THE Ohio State University in 1998. I earned my PhD in social work from Morgan State in 2010. Q: What made you want to be a social worker? The issues that first brought me to social work practice are the same ones I care about now – hunger and homelessness. The idea that so many families with children are going to sleep at night on the streets of major metropolitan areas with no food, no shelter and no stability is a pitiful statement about who we are as a nation. I became a social worker to fix that! Q: What are your areas of research? My work focuses on various aspects of religion, spirituality and the Black Church. I am specifically interested in ways that social workers and social service agencies can work collaboratively with the Black Church given that both institutions have very similar goals – helping people find peace, balance, and support in their lives. I am also interested in finding ways to help the Black Church evolve (… pun intended) into more socially and economically progressive institutions. Activism and social justice are literally at the heart of the Black Church, but I feel like we’re getting away from that. My work is about getting us back to the root of who we are and what makes us unique. Q: What advice do you have for UConn SSW students? Take advantage of this outstanding opportunity you have. We told someone “no” so that you could be here so you have to be worthy of this coveted space. Be academically excellent, intellectually curious, and always professional. Have goals that exceed commencement. Anyone can graduate, but what you do afterward will define you. Use this time & space to achieve excellence! Q: What is your favorite quote? I’m going to cheat and share two of my favorites … “Change only comes from internal discomfort” which is mine and “Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity” which belongs to Horace Mann (1859).


What’s going on?

OBSWS Events October 1st – DC/MD/VA Travel Study Meeting • 6:00pm in the Zachs Room • Want to go on the trip? Bring your $50 deposit! October 22nd – AfriCAN AmeriCANT • 5:30pm in Room 207 • Forum on victimology in the Black community

SSW Events October 17th – Why Can’t I just be Bi-Racial? • 12:45pm in Room 203 • Video & discussion on being bi-racial in America October 18th – PRIDE Open Meeting • 3:00pm in Room 206 • Learn about the mission & events for the year! October 22nd – Being Latina in the United States • 6:30pm in Room 203 • Discussion of Latina identities & socioeconomic intersections


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Ujima october 2013