For some, it’s about breaking new ground. Ujima is a Swahili word which means collective work and responsibility. The Ujima African American Alliance chose this word to represent how it aims to educate, inspire, and engage the African American community. In 2022, the group hosted a Black history event at the town library and organized Enfield’s first Juneteenth celebration, thanks in part to a Resident Engagement grant from the Hartford Foundation.
“We encourage people of color to engage in their communities,” said long-time Enfield resident and Ujima Treasurer Rosalind Swift. “Our members now serve on several boards and partner with other nonprofits. Changing people’s hearts is hard work but we are excited to keep it going.”
While getting civically engaged is focused on community, it often leads to personal growth as well. “I am definitely more involved in my community when it comes to local issues,” said Herrera-Duran. “Being more aware of the different things that are going on and what help is being offered, I am able to share that with other members of the community.”