Umoja Club discusses social issues

Tia Baldwin, Editor-in-Chief

Starting as a conversation amongst friends at a lunch table, H-F’s newest “Umoja” club was formed.

Senior Natalie Shute founded the club after her lunch table would discuss current events and other social issues.

“The Black Lives Matter protests especially led me to making the club,” Shute said. “All of the police brutality events made me eager to talk to people about it.

After asking members of her lunch table if they would want to start a club similar to their lunch table, with the help of Study Hall teacher Donna Brumfield, Shute got the ball rolling.

“I asked Ms. Brumfield to be the adviser and she seemed interested in my idea,” Shute said. “We had to talk to Dr. Mansfield about the idea and (Brumfield) sent him information about the club and if it was okay to start up.”

Umoja means “unity” in Swahili.

“We really wanted a club where minority students could really connect since there used to be an African-American club at H-F that doesn’t really exist anymore,” Shute said. “However, we wanted to broaden the club so other students who aren’t black or minority could join. We talk about social justice related issues and controversial topics and kind of just debate about them.”

A typical Umoja Club meeting begins with its members sitting in a circle and talking about how their days went.

“Ms. Brumfield will bring in a quote or a video that leads us into what we are going to talk about for the day,” Shute said. “Last week, she brought in stats on how many women are affected by domestic violence and then we led ourselves in a conversation about it.”

With less than ten club attendees, Umoja is always welcoming new members. They meet Thursdays at 3:15 p.m. in room 233 North.

“After every meeting, I feel like I’m relieved of something,” senior Rashelle Brownfield said. “I love talking about real issues that affect me everyday.”

Shute hopes other students realize the need for clubs like hers’.

“I would like more underclassmen to join so that the club can continue when I graduate,” she said. “We are currently planning a trip to Cincinnati to visit the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center or Atlanta to visit some HBCU’s and black history related monuments and museums.