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For the second year in a row, Ujima, Inc. hosted its Domestic Violence Awareness Month Op-ed Writer’s Workshop. On Saturday, October 5, 2019, in partnership with the Georgetown University Law Fellowship program, Ujima, Inc. continued its work around domestic violence by hosting a workshop that would engage the community and provide best practices on how to write an op-ed for a newspaper, magazine or blog.

Facilitated by Ujima’s very own LisaLyn Jacobs, the workshop explored the importance of op-eds, how to successfully write one and how to pitch your op-ed to editors.

A brand new event for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Ujima, Inc. hosted its first Coffee & Conversation: Black Maternal Health at Busboys and Poets in the Anacostia neighborhood of Washington, DC on Monday, October 14, 2019. Moderated by Megan Simmons, Senior Policy Attorney for Ujima, Inc., the panel discussion provided insight into the intersection of violence and Black maternal health. The conversation centered on violence, bias, and preventable deaths experienced by Black women throughout the duration of their pregnancies.

Panelists for the event included:

  • Jamila Perritt, MD, MPH, FACOG
  • Jessica Pinckney, In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda, Vice President of Government Affairs

Dr. Perritt shared practical experiences and how her medical care is guided by trauma informed skills. Ms. Pinkney offered her knowledge on policy implications on Black women’s maternal health, as well as policy recommendations to improve outcomes going forward. Dr. Perritt and Ms. Pinkney, both activists and advocates, often work together to educate others on reproductive justice.

Both women shared their personal experiences on how they arrived at incorporating reproductive justice into their professional lives.

If you missed the event, click here to view the entire discussion on our Facebook page.

Ujima, Inc.: The National Center on Violence Against Women in the Black Community was thrilled to present two Issue Forums at the 2019 Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference. On Thursday, September 12, 2019, we held our first panel, What We Need Is Love: Preventing Sexual and Dating Violence on HBCU Campuses. Moderated by award winning actress Tanya Wright, the panel explored issues around sexual and dating violence on the campuses of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Panelists included:

  • Tricia Bent-Goodley, Director of the Howard University Interpersonal Violence Prevention Program and Chair/Director of the University’s Women’s Leadership Initiative
  • Candy Young, Title IX Coordinator, Delaware State University
  • Darlene Johnson, Associate Director, Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice
  • Megan Simmons, Sr. Policy Attorney, Ujima, Inc.: The National Center on Violence Against Women in the Black Community

On Friday, September 13, 2019, we held our second panel, The Untold Story: Trafficking in the Black Community. Also moderated by award winning actress Tanya Wright, the panel took an in-depth look at human trafficking and why Black women and girls are trafficked at a higher rate. Panelist included:

  • Austen Williams, Human Trafficking Advocate and President, The Culture Catalyst
  • Tanisha Murden, Human Trafficking Survivor
  • Gretta Gardner, Deputy Director, Ujima, Inc.: The National Center on Violence Against Women in the Black Community
  • Dr. Monique Howard, Executive Director, WOAR-Philadelphia Center Against Sexual Violence

In addition to events hosted by Ujima, Inc., our Executive Director, Karma Cottman served as a panelist at the “You Matter to Me: Domestic Violence and Strategic Community Alliances” discussion. The panel was a part of the “S.M.E. (Show Me Everything) Speaker Series,” hosted by Reverend Janelle Johnson of Reid Temple AME Church in Glendale, Maryland.

During the month of October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM), The Person Center (TPC) partnered with Ujima, Inc. to engage the member and community partners of DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence (DCCADV) in raising awareness about domestic violence. Collectively, they educated communities on how to promote safety, respect and accountability by changing the way we talk about relationships across the Diaspora.

Ujima, Inc. and TPC, in collaboration with DCCADV, kicked off DVAM on the campus of Howard University at their Paint the Campus Purple event on Tuesday, October 1, 2019, hosted by Howard University’s Violence Prevention Program. The event gave both programs the opportunity to engage the student body in discussion on raising awareness about DVAM and healthy relationships, while also distributing culturally specific literature and resources.

Following the Howard University event, Ujima, Inc. and TPC took part in DCCADV’s signature DVAM event, Paint the Town Purple. This year, organizations from across the District of Columbia joined us at various Metro stations throughout DC where we educated the community about domestic violence by distributing resources and other materials.

Other exciting events that took place throughout the month included:

  • US Attorney’s Office and the East of the River Family – The US Attorney’s Office and the East of the River Family Strengthening Collaborative hosted an Inter-Faith Health Resource Fair in Ward 7. This outreach and tabling event focused primarily on domestic violence and intimate partner violence and included over a dozen organizations and resources available to Washington, DC residents, specifically in Ward 7. Organizations and agencies that were represented included: The University of the District of Columbia, Interfaith Advisory Board to the Mayor, MedStar Health Hospitals, the Metropolitan Police Department, DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence, The Person Center and Ujima, Inc., just to name a few.
  • Spread the Love Trivia Night – An exciting event where locals had the opportunity to show off their smarts while raising awareness about healthy relationships. Trivia Night is an annual charity event that supports the work of the DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
  • Purple Thursday Fest – A day of unity in the community to commemorate the annual Purple Thursday Awareness Community Fair across the DC metropolitan area. The event showcased the strength of the DVAM member organizations and community partners. Located on the steps of The National City Christian Church, the event included awareness activities, performances and a declaration by the Mayor of Washington, DC.

Other DVAM events TPC attended included, Coffee & Conversations, a movie screening of the classic 1940’s film “The Heiress,” and a presentation on the Public Charge ruling around housing in DC and Surviving DC: The Cost of Safety, a discussion about domestic violence and the actual cost of assisting survivors.

The Person Center also had the opportunity to engage with the community, organizations and advocates through various training sessions. In partnership with the DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence, The Person Center conducted three, all-day trauma informed trainings at the Hill Center in Southeast, DC. Shelter organizations from across the city participated in a group discussion about trauma and its impacts, as well as how to address trauma when supporting the clients we serve. The groups also discussed systemic challenges and barriers when responding to trauma and defining trauma informed care that is shared across the spectrum.

Ujima, Inc.: The National Center on Violence Against Women in the Black Community was thrilled to be a part of the 25th ESSENCE Festival in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Ujima team had the opportunity to meet thousands of women and men from all over the country. Guests were eager to share their survivor stories with the team and loved hearing about the work we are doing in the Black community. Ujima distributed resources, giveaways and received over 600 signatures from guests who are interested in participating in addressing domestic violence, sexual violence, and community violence in their own communities.

The ESSENCE Festival, which was held July 5th – July 7th is known as the world’s largest celebration of global Black culture, entertainment, and empowerment. The 2019 Festival promoted Black culture, economic ownership, and inclusion. The Essence Festival has an international audience of over 500,000 attendees and brings a $4 million economic impact to the city of New Orleans.

Because of the overwhelming support we received, Ujima, Inc. plans to attend and support the Festival annually.


Star Jackson
Ujima Communications Intern

Black Philanthropy Month (BPM) is a multimedia campaign created in August 2011 that celebrates African-descent giving. Founded by Dr. Jackie Bouvier Copeland and the Pan-African Women’s Philanthropy Network (PAWNet), BPM is an annual, global celebration that invites African and Black communities and allies to use August as a month to give back. The theme for 2019 is: Let’s Make History.

BPM’s purposes are to lead civic engagement, amplify stories, cultivate next generation givers, and to expand the ways of giving through month long of events. BPM promotes the power of giving to transform lives and aims to inform, involve, inspire and invest in Black philanthropic leadership in order to strengthen giving in all forms in black communities. Public participation began in 2013 and has grown throughout the years. Participants can now get involved in BPM through various avenues, unique to their philanthropic styles – online and offline, locally and globally. Involvement can occur by attending a philanthropy or community related event, writing an op-ed piece inspired by the theme of the campaign, sharing news and stories using the #BPM2019 hashtag on social media, joining or starting a giving circle, becoming a mentor, hosting local civic engagement forums, engaging in community service projects and donating to a cause of their interest.

BPM was recognized by the United Nations as part of its Declaration of 2011 as the International Year for People of African Descent. Each year, a new organizing concept frames the BPM campaign.

For more information about Black Philanthropy Month, visit blackphilanthropymonth.com. To support Ujima, Inc. and our mission, click here.

Star Jackson
Ujima Communications Intern


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