The word Ujima is derived from the third principle of Kwanzaa and means collective work and responsibility.
Ujima Men’s Collective aims to build a strong network of Black same-gender-loving men and those who love and support them.
This month, advocates and leaders in this community will gather in Fort Lauderdale for the Ujima Men’s Collective Conference. It runs from Oct. 22-24.
The conference is built on five tiers: Leadership, Advocacy, Spirituality, Relationships, and Health and Wellness.
“Our goal is to educate people about the experience of Black same-gender-loving men,” said Lorenzo Robertson, executive director of Ujima Men’s Collective. “We want to explore the lives of Black same-gender-loving men and their connection to leadership, advocacy, spirituality, relationships, and health and wellness. People should gain a sense that Black same-gender-loving men are whole people and not just agents of HIV/AIDS.”
Dr. Cleo Manago is conducting a workshop on Friday, Oct. 22. He’s an African-American activist and social architect who coined the term same-gender-loving (or SGL) as an alternative for African-descended or Black people who do not wish to identify as gay or lesbian. His discussion will focus on being human and help guide Black same-gender-loving men on living life authentically.
On Saturday, there will be workshops that define stigma, sexuality, and spirituality. Other sessions will include discussions on the sexual taboo among Black same-gender-loving men, how they have sex, and with whom.
Florida State Senator Shevrin Jones will deliver the keynote address during Saturday’s luncheon.
Neo-soul artist Nhojj will perform throughout the weekend. There will also be a Black-Tie Awards banquet on Saturday evening.
“The conference is open to all with an emphasis on Black same-gender-loving men,” said Robertson.
Registration is now open. Tickets cost $100 before Oct. 21.
For more information or to register, visit https://www.ujimamen.net/conference.