Umoja Cypher Sessions: Promoting Social Justice Through The Arts In Broward

Art of Community

May 11, 2021
The “Umoja Cypher Sessions” are made possible by new Community Foundation of Broward grants that support performances, murals, sculptures, films, workshops and other opportunities for the arts to connect, inspire and unite Broward residents.

The arts have a unique power to bring people together and inspire change – just what we need at a time when our community is crying out for social justice.

The Community Foundation of Broward is using the power of the arts to bridge differences with support for Art of Community – philanthropy that ignites creativity, invokes community pride and unites residents through the arts.

Thanks to Community Foundation Fundholders who step up for the arts, one of our new Art of Community grants supports the “Umoja Cypher Sessions” by the Art Prevails Project.

“Umoja” is a Swahili word for unity.

During the Umoja Cypher Sessions, Broward residents will participate in hands-on arts activities at monthly sessions that include sing-alongs and other artistic performances, held at the FATVillage warehouse district in downtown Fort Lauderdale. In this “camp fire” gathering inspired concept, participants will discuss racism, the repercussions of mass incarceration, gentrification, police brutality and other important social justice topics.

“The Umoja Cypher Sessions blend arts with activism, with community at the crux,” said Marnino Toussaint, a singer, rapper and songwriter who will help lead the project.

Gatherings will start with the reading of a poem, seeing a painting, watching a dancer, hearing a song or experiencing some other form of the arts that addresses the subject matter that the group will explore. Then, community leaders, activists and experts will help guide participants through a discussion.

In a meeting with Community Foundation leaders, Art Prevails Project Founder and Artistic Director Darius Daughtry provided a rhyming description of what it will be like to experience the Umoja Cypher Sessions.

“There’s no coming together if we don’t do so truthfully,” he said. “We have to face the ugly, but we can do so beautifully using the arts to promote change, well that’s our duty, see.”

The Umoja Cypher Sessions community gatherings are one of seven exciting new Art of Community projects that will help answer our community’s call for social justice.

Click here to learn more about all the new Art of Community projects.

“It’s really the arts that unify us, they heal us, they inspire us,” Community Foundation President/CEO Jennifer O’Flannery Anderson, Ph.D., said. “These programs are going to have an amazing impact on our community.”

Support for the new Art of Community projects came from the following Funds at the Community Foundation:

Helen and Frank Stoykov Charitable Endowment Fund, Ruth H. Brown Fund for the Arts, Dot and Keith Cobb Fund, Mary and Alex Mackenzie Community Impact Fund, Edward Hashek and John Jors Charitable Fund, Leonard & Sally Robbins Fund, Everett H. Metcalf, Jr. Unrestricted Fund, Mary N. Porter Community Impact Fund, Community Concerts Association of Fort Lauderdale Performing Arts Fund, A Fund for the Performing Arts, Linda and Michael Carter Fund, John D. Ryan Fund, Harold D. Franks Fund, Gary J. Scotto Fund, Discretionary Community Fund, Oakland Park Woman’s Club, Deinhardt Charitable Fund, Ann Adams Fund, The Robert Elmore Family Fund, Maxine Powers Hofert Fund, Peter J. and Mary C. Barbare Fund, Barbara and Michael G. Landry Fund for Broward, Peck Family Fund, Julia C.  Baldwin Fund, Frederick W. Jaqua Fund

Learn More

To learn how you can help support Art of Community and other Issues That Matter to Broward, contact Vice President of Philanthropic Services Nancy Thies at nthies@cfbroward.org or954-761-9503.

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