From the Nominator
Established in 1989, the University of Miami Black Alumni Society (UMBAS) is an official affiliate of the University's Alumni Association committed to enhancing the University of Miami experience for African American, African, Black non-African descent, Black Caribbean, and Black Latin alumni and students.
UMBAS's mission is to facilitate and support a wide-ranging network of alumni, students, and faculty in advancing its community's interests and needs while illuminating the rich history of Black alumni at the University of Miami. Its executive board fulfills these goals by developing strategic outreach focused on expanding alumni engagement, philanthropy, and mentoring initiatives.
A unique UMBAS program designed to enhance engagement and deepen the sense of belonging is the recognition of Juneteenth, a cultural event commemorating the end of slavery in the United States and African Americans' emancipation. UMBAS first celebrated Juneteenth with the national university community in June 2019, promoting awareness of African American culture and heritage through a series of in-person events at cultural and historic venues across the country.
Because of the pandemic and shutdown, the UMBAS was inspired to pivot its 2020 Juneteenth event to a virtual format within 45 days, developing a robust and creative program of engaging activities to be enjoyed remotely. The event exceeded stated objectives, fostering alumni connections through an increased attendance rate of 54 percent, leveraging digital platforms to reach more than 88,000 constituents, and raising awareness about African American independence in light of current calls for social justice.