Meet The Team
Jerjuan Howard is the founder and executive director of Umoja Debate League. Born and raised on the Westside of Detroit, by a close knit community and family. Jerjuan has a deep passion for community engagement and youth development. Prior to founding Umoja Debate Team, Jerjuan has served as an Information Technology Specialist for the U.S. Army, President of the Black Student Union at Western Michigan University, author of "A Message to Black College Students", and as an Academic Interventionist for Detroit Public Schools Community District. He graduated from Western Michigan University in December 2020 with a Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice. Jerjuan believes in the power that we all possess as a community to collectively change our conditions from within. He emphasizes the importance of reaching back to connect/invest in the community once you have reached a certain level of success.
Jaida is a passionate advocate for the advancement of youth, and social justice and she is a firm believer that "It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men"-Frederick Douglas. Born and raised on the Westside of Detroit, Michigan, Jaida has had first hand experience in reaping the benefits of participating in youth development programs and understands the importance of exposing and educating children. She plans to use her knowledge, personal experience, and passion to pour back into the youth.
In addition to being a part of Umoja Debate League's Executive Board, Jaida worked with Central Michigan University's TRIO Upward Bound Program in Detroit, as a Mentor and Program Assistant. Jaida obtained her Bachelor of Social Work degree from Central Michigan University and her Master's of Social Work from Wayne State University. Jaida is now an ESE School Social Worker at Detroit Public Schools Community District.
Jaida's primary devotion is to empower, uplift, and develop the youth into future leaders, as well as advocate for social justice. Jaida is excited to be a part of the team and assist with the development of the organization and youth.
Born and raised in Metro Detroit, Leah has always been a curious soul. That curiosity led her to trying numerous activities and hobbies in her adolescent life as well as into adulthood that she believed she would be good at. In that pursuit of happiness, she realized that the things she enjoyed the most all had one thing in common, children. After graduating from Western Michigan University with a Bachelor’s in Political Science, Leah began substitute teaching for DPS. She was able to see the direct cause and effect that at- home life played in regards with school life for the kids on a daily basis. That sparked her interest in finding a healthy and educational outlet for young people, which led her to the Umoja Debate League. Leah plans on using the tools she’s picked up while on her journey to pour back into the youth. She wholeheartedly believes in the saying “it takes a village” so she’s very excited to be a part of this team and she can’t wait to get to work!
Creative Content Director
Arieana is Co-Communications & Public Relations Chair of Umoja Debate Team. Originally from Saginaw, MI she has always taken pride in community and family. This has helped her find joy in helping others any way she can. She graduated from Western Michigan University with a degree in Public Relations minoring in Management. Along with that she also enjoys doing graphic design work. Being in charge of Umoja digital & website art. She has a creative mind along with multiple years in the customer service and marketing industry that has helped her communication skills and has showed the importance of teamwork. Teamwork is something that she feels is important for kids to understand and be able to work together while communicating effectively. She plans on using her passion to empower the movement behind Umoja Debate League. She is excited to join the executive board to help the youth on their journey to success teaching them to always lead with heart and forever motivating them to never give up on their dreams.
Communications/Public Relations Chair
Ashley Reed is the Co-Communications & Public Relations Chair of Umoja Debate League, she has always taken pride in volunteering and being an active participant in her community. She graduated from Central Michigan University where she majored in Family Studies and minored in Child Development and Youth Studies. Early in her academic career she held numerous leadership positions such as Treasure, Outreach Chair and the President of The Organization of Black Unity. She continued to work as a service to her community interning with the Detroit City Council in District 3.Currently Ashley works as a Youth Specialist providing support and resources to families and children in crisis. Ashley is a firm believer that “children are the future” and works actively to influence the journey of our future leaders.
Brandon is the Consultant for the Umoja Debate League. Originally from Ypsilanti, MI Brandon knows the importance of collaborating with a team and building together. Having experience in creating the company “Young Dreamer Clothing” while also working within the HR industry it has provided Brandon with experience and resources to not only build strong interpersonal relationships but also the leadership skills to successfully assist in growing an organization. Brandon understands that education is the cornerstone to empowerment within any community. When students are able to learn with others and grow together the sky's the limit where success is concerned.