When Dr. Karenga created the Seven Principles of Kwanzaa, he did so in an effort to celebrate family, community, and culture. It comes as no surprise that these very principles are the guiding force of the work done at Umoja P.E.A.C.E. Center (UPC).
As a “youth focused, community based cultural center in the heart of Seattle’s historic Central District”, UPC aims its efforts at one of our most invaluable assets: our youth. With a mission of empowering and inspiring young people through Positive Education, Art, Culture, and Enterprise (PEACE), UPC has been fulfilling that goal for years. Because of UPC, youth have access to activities and programs on topics such as civic learning, digital media production, visual/vocal/performing arts, gardening, and more.
Equally as important as the knowledge and opportunities made available are the relationships formed. UPC embodies the importance of unity (Umoja) andcooperative work & responsibility (Ujimaa) in their partnership with families, providing a wider net of community for our young ones. A shining example of this can be seen in the Game Changers Program that originated at Washington Middle School. Black men from the community saw a need for mentorship for the young Black males in our schooling system and created Game Changers to fill that gap. The 1st Annual Black Graduation was held to this very affect, as a community celebration and rite of passage for our youth who are excelling.
By enacting these principles, UPC has helped expose youth to new opportunities that may have otherwise been outside of their reach. UPC is not only building their sense of competence, they are also putting them on their path toward their purpose (Nia) in a culturally relevant way.