The Harambee Summit!
The word “Harambee” is a Swahili word that means “to pull together, to come together, and to push together.” It reminds us that we’re stronger together than we are alone. In 2021, One Common Unity organized a Harambee Summit at Roosevelt Senior High School to serve as the climax of a professional development series hosted at the school.
The summit welcomed together every staff person at the school for a day-long event centered on togetherness and self-care, setting the intention for a creatively impactful and sustainable school year. Through workshops and breakout sessions, opening and closing performances, and powerful keynote speakers, the summit served as a high-energy, immersive experience to revitalize staff in the days before a new school year began.
For Roosevelt High School teachers, many had not been in the classroom for over a year and many incoming students had not stepped foot in the school at all. This event served as a powerful ‘coming together’ and alignment for staff to provide students with the support structures they needed after a traumatizing pandemic year plagued with growing gun violence, racial uprisings, and ongoing uncertainty.
“I think it helped to center us around what’s really important and what the real focus is. And I think it did that in a way that touched us individually. Like today was a day of self-care but self-care to prepare us to be there for our students in a holistic way.”– Nkenge Cunningham, Teacher, Roosevelt High School
In a range of breakout sessions, teachers explored topics such as cultural sensitivity, implicit bias, girl empowerment, and supporting newly arrived and/or adjudicated youth, and they strengthened their own mindfulness and self-care practices. In a day filled with inspiration, connection, and cathartic release, educators came away with effective strategies to promote youth engagement and relationship building. For a full list of sessions, review last year’s agenda here.