Boston Ujima's Gift / by Ngoc-Tran Vu

Boston Ujima Project: https://vimeo.com/233743407

Boston Ujima Project: https://vimeo.com/233743407

Screen Shot 2017-09-28 at 8.57.22 PM.png

          Within this month, the mural project was submitted into the Boston Ujima Project's grant. Project after projects, rolling in and out, Ujima had approve it into the next round. However, that did not confirm its chances of being granted with the reward just yet. The next round revolved around pitching the project to the Ujima team, publicly, to be granted the reward. Only that pitching was not the problem, it was time that did not work so well with our local lead artist. 

          Tran was actually out of state, caught in the hurricane trying to get out while the pitch was happening. When Tran finally made it into Boston, she was informed that her project was granted by Ujima's gift. How was that even possible?!

          Truth to be told, Tran actually asked her assistant in favor to pitch while she attempts to leave Florida from Hurricane Irma. I'm grateful to say, it was a great experience to pitch and have a follow up on receiving the grant from Ujima.

          On the day of pitching for the grant, the weather started off fairly cool and bright. Ujima's themed event, "Dreaming Wild," was located at the First Church of Roxbury. I raced my way there only to figure out, I was already late, but the programming was also delayed. Gathering my thoughts, I muttered my lines well enough to pitch it.
   
          I have to admit, I was nervous. I also have to admit that I was confused and hungry, for I was one of the youngest people to pitch at an environment I did not recognize. Not long, I met other people along the way who also had to pitch their great ideas, and plans. Ideas from businesses and other artists that had projects benefitting communities in the most incredible ways. Again, I went to mutter under my breath to make sure that I fit the time frame.

          Flashing forward in time, the pitching stage was moved to another room. Artists were pitching first, and in the line-up there were ten presentations to get to. Of all ten presenters, this very project was first to pitch. The time frame given was two minutes. I wished there were more time to pitch the idea, but two was all I had. 

          To start a two-minute pitch... I threw a disclaimer that the lead artist is flying away from the hurricane, and that I am only seventeen years old, and pitching in a room full of adults. The faces changed so fast when I stated such facts. Running through what I had rehearsed, I still couldn't manage the time; Two-minute was gone. Never have I thought I would ever be scared of two-minutes in my entire life. I watched the two-minute cut into peoples presentation, and create a strong nervous pressure. Presenters sat back down after the pitch, all there was left was waiting. 

          The pressure and long wait ate art presenters alive. We were dying to know who was given the grant, wishing each other the last of lucks. Time was still ticking, slowly. The waiting time span literally had me questioning, "Why was this time-span not the presenting-time, instead of just two minutes?"

          Voting numbers wrapped up, and it was time to announce. That was when Tran had landed, and Ujima had granted us our reward. We were given the grant. We were given Ujima's gift.

          Overall, I thought it was a new experience. Ujima did a very well done job on the programming, setting up, and orientations. We would like Ujima, and Ujima members for granting us the reward, and giving us an opportunity such as this! I hope that Ujima gets far in its existence and its time-span! Otherwise, if you would like to know more about Ujima, you can follow-up on their link right below! We are just grateful for Ujima's dear gift from their sponsors and program!

For more information on Boston Ujima Project, please visit https://www.ujimaboston.com

- Kathy Le