On April 1st, I embarked on a solo journey with UMOJA Magazine. Initially, I doubted my ability to handle this assignment. And as expected, the learning curve was quite steep. Even the vocabulary associated with this field proved to be a challenge. I must admit, even operating the office camera and all its settings are still coming into focus. Journalism was not in my wheelhouse. Props to all who are schooled in this field.

As I reflect on the last 9 months, I could not let the year end without publicly saying thank you to all the writers and photographers who graciously accepted or offered their skills to help UMOJA come together each month.
Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings + Photos
Dr. Erika Bullock +Photos
Shari Gasper
Hywania Thompson
Kathe Crawley-Conn
Nadirah Adeye
Lora Sall
Hedi Rudd + Photos
Bob Wynn
Ada Umubera
Joseline Nyinawabera
Lee Hawkins
Dr. Michele Turner
Chevon Bowen
Erica Serlin PhD.
Mike Lucas
Carola Gaines
Carolyn Rumph
Honorable Rev. Everett Mitchell
Cassaundra Thorpe
Mia Imani Quigley
Andrea Dearlove
Dominique Smith
Dr. Damira Grady
Katie Brietzman
Deenah Givens
Biana Speed
Deborah Biddle
Krystal Images Photography

Thank you, Theran Michaelis (Theran Creative), for your keen eye for layout each issue. You make the stories leap from the page making them reader friendly. Thank you, Hedi Rudd, for teleporting to multiple places each month. Your photos are timeless stories. Thank you Taeli Turner-Reistad for your computer skills and social media prowess. I thank all vendors who placed ads that allow us to pay the bills. Thank you, Yvette Craig, for showing many how-tos during our few months of sharing an office. There are other names including the UMOJA board of directors and Jonathan Gramling that were on the sidelines offering advice and encouragement. I thank you as well. Thank you to all the artists for making that first impression so inviting. Each month, your artwork keeps UMOJA unique in its presentation. This year’s artists were…
Rashied Atlas 1
Eric “The Artist” Cross. 2
Brooklyn Doby 3
Jerry Jordan 4
Jacob Lawrence (1917-2000) 5
Camille Barlow 6
Umoja Staff / Theran Michaelis 7/8
Umoja Staff / Theran Michaelis 9
Ciara “Cee” Nash 10
Robert Jackson. 11
Umoja Staff / Theran Michaelis 12

Many observe the holidays by giving back, showing gratitude, and making attitude adjustments as they attempt life changes. Inside you will read a paragraph or two regarding each of the 7 principles of Kwanzaa which is observed from December 26th to January 1st. It is only fitting that Umoja is the first principle (where we get our magazine’s name) which emphasizes the importance of unity and togetherness in the community. I recognize the collective efforts of the names above who put this principle into action.

I thank You, the readers, for subscribing and reading the magazine each month. UMOJA is by us but for you. Thanks for helping us end the year strong!! Enjoy the holiday season. We look forward to using UMOJA to continue to strengthen our community by featuring positive profiles and events.