Sankofa is an innovative access and retention program that aims to smooth the process of transition for community college transfer students to Cal State East Bay (CSUEB) and increase the baccalaureate degree attainment of program participants. Sankofa supports its students and addresses the challenges they face as they enter CSUEB. Sankofa also enables students to integrate their home identities with their school identity by creating a sense of community within the cohort. Sankofa is open to all students and provides a supportive learning environment that focuses on African Diaspora Studies.
East Bay is proud to announce that the Sankofa Scholars Program is the first and only CSU to become an official affiliate of the Umoja Community Program. Umoja is a community of educators and learners committed to the academic success, personal growth and self-actualization of African American and other students. The Umoja Community seeks to educate the whole student –body, mind and spirit.
The Sankofa Scholars Program incorporates Umoja practices in our curriculum, pedagogy, and student success programs. Our affiliation with Umoja allows us to recruit students that are currently in community college and participate in Umoja affiliated programs.
The concept of Sankofa derives from King Adinkera of the Akan people of West Africa. In the Akan dialect the term Sankofa is verbally given as “se wo were fi na wosan kofa a yenki.” This literally means “it is not taboo to go back and fetch what you forgot.” Historically, Sankofa is visually represented as a bird on a pedestal with outstretched feet whose beak and eyes are turned towards its back.
Later, Black American scholars built upon this image, adding an egg to the Sankofa’s back and simplified the many meanings of Sankofa to "remembering our past, to protect our future.”
The verbal and visual representation of Sankofa teaches us that we should reach back and gather the best of what our past has to teach us so that we can achieve our full potential as we move forward.