Our vision is to make our Bassa Speaking Counties of Grand Bassa, Rivercess, Margibi and Montserrado, through our committed initiatives of education and healthcare a better environment for our people and all Liberians who reside in these counties.
As a group, we must acknowledge the dynamics of our strengths and the opportunities afforded us in America to advocate and seek assistance for a conducive learning environment for the younger generation of our counties and country as a whole. The challenges ahead are enormous and real, to confront and overcome some, UNIBOA will maintain an abiding commitment to work in partnership with other donor groups both in the United States and in Liberia to make our vision a reality through advocacy for a safe environment and conducive educational and healthcare communities for our people.
The story is told that Before “UNIBOA”, there was the “Bassa Progressive League”. The Bassa Progressive League was founded in Brooklyn, New York in 1972 by a group of Bassonians headed by Mr. Jucontee Thomas [Smith] Woewiyu as its first President. The organization was more of a social clique which brought together people of the Bassa ethnic group in the Brooklyn-Manhattan areas of New York City. The primary goal was to protect and promote the cultural heritage of the Bassa people in the Diaspora.
The formation of the Bassa organization was inspired by the tremendous effort made by author, Alex Hailey in his research that led to the famous book and movie, “ROOT”. The inspirational motive at the time was, “given Liberia’s history of emphasis on its American slave heritage, if the Bassa people in Liberia did not protect and promote their own heritage, it could get lost”. The founders of the Bassa organization wanted to spare generations of Bassonians in the future of the “ROOT” syndrome.
The Bassa organization was the first ethnically based Liberian organization in the Americas. The formation of the Bassa organization gave impetus to other ethnic organizations such as the Kru, “I win Na”, the Grand Gedeh Association, Nimba Citizen Council, the Lofa and Mandingo Association, etc.
Because of shrinking membership as members sought and changed localities in the quest for better employment opportunities and other dreams, the organization was disbanded after few years of its existence.
The process of forming The United Bassa Organizations of the Americas (UNIBOA) begun in the great city of Newark, New Jersey on December 10, 1983 by concern citizens of the Bassa counties of Liberia living in New York and New Jersey metro areas who met and discussed the formation of a Bassa organization. The organization was originally named “Blojay” (meaning in the Bassa dialect, “Because of or for the sake of homeland”. The late Rev. Dr. Samuel Snelborough of Newark, New Jersey was chosen to be the Interim- Chairman until a National Election was held.
The First National Convention of “Blojay” was held on February 27, 1984 in Providence, Rhode Island. Mr. Eric Brown of North Carolina was elected the first National President. The title “Khaan Venneh” was conferred on the President as an official title for the presidency of the National Body and “Khaan” for the local chapters, respectively, instead of the traditional title “President”. The original chapters were: North Jersey, South Jersey, Rhode Island, and North Carolina. Its operations subsided due to lack of funding and internal quarrel after a protracted period of existence.
On October 20, 1990, at the home of Mr. Z. Jerome Gayman, a former President of the North Jersey Chapter, in the great City of Irvington, New Jersey, a meeting was held to brainstorm the re-organization of “Blojay” with two members from New York and four members from Newark, New Jersey, they agreed to re-organize on the national level. An Interim Committee was set up to spearhead the reformation. Mr. Hitler Harvey of New York City was elected as Interim Chairman and Mr. Jermaine Boyd Smith of Newark, New Jersey as Co-chairman.
On January 5, 1991, the Interim Committee hosted an all Bassa conference in Newark, New Jersey to discuss the finishing touches of the proposed re-organization. The conference brought together people of the Bassa counties residing in New York City, Trenton, Staten Island, Brooklyn, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C.
At this conference, the Chairman of the D.C. Bassa organization, Mr. Joseph D. Sinyan informed the body that his organization, the “United Bassa Association of Washington D.C.” has been in existence for six years and on behalf of his people in Washington D.C, he was willing to annex his organization as a chapter of the newly re-organized national body.
The Re-organizing Committee unanimously agreed to accept the United Bassa Association of Washington DC as a chapter and subsequently was selected to host a forum at which a new constitution was to be drafted.
FROM “BLOJAY” TO “FEBCA”
On March 9, 1991, a Constitution Forum proposed by the Re-organizing Committee at a meeting held in Newark was convened in Washington D.C. to draft a new constitution. At this meeting, the following names were suggested for the national body: (a) Federation of Bassa Counties of the Americas; (b) Bassa Community; (c) Bassa Communities of the Americas; (d) The Federation of Bassa Communities in the Americas; (e) Union of Bassa Counties in the Americas. The name selected was “Federation of Bassa Counties in the Americas (FEBCA)”. The name “FEBCA” was the name for the national body used in the Preamble of the constitution that was drafted at the Forum.
FROM “FEBCA” TO “UNIBOA”
On April 13, 1991, The Bassa People Organization of Trenton, New Jersey hosted the second Constitution Forum, in a Work Session, the national body was renamed from “FEBCA” to “United Bassa Organizations in the Americas (UNIBOA). The aim was to reflect and include all Bassa organizations within the United States and Canada. The change of name has encouraged many Liberian citizens from the Bassa Speaking Counties residing in other states to organize chapters of UNIBOA. Currently, UNIBOA has fourteen member chapters and the addition of other chapters is in progress.