It is with great humility that I serve as Director of Operations for the UMOJA Magazine.
From its earliest days as a simple newsletter, founded and run by Milele Chikasa Anana, to Yvette Craig an accomplished publisher and editor, UMOJA is continuing its run as the oldest African-American owned magazine in Wisconsin. In those decades, UMOJA has provided Dane County and its thousands of diverse readers around the state with positive news about the Black community with its features, photos, profiles, and short stories. We owe both those women great gratitude. I will not let tradition end with me.
With the help of a small staff and a distinguished board (whose names you’ll find on this page), and readers like you, I look forward to making UMOJA an even more important player in focusing on the positive news and achievements of Black Indigenous People Of Color (BIPOC) as we struggle to unlearn the tendency of seeing ourselves painted in negative and adverse terms so often portrayed in mainstream and social media. UMOJA is a front-runner to continually change how we see ourselves and how we talk about each other.
Our small staff cannot do this alone. The world has become too complicated to try to replicate the supreme efforts it took Milele to move from a newsletter to a magazine, from black and white to color, from business card ads to full page corporate ads – while running on a shoestring budget (probably from her own pocket) to meet those monthly deadlines. UMOJA needs more, it needs you!
We need to hear your ideas about people, events, accomplishments and activities. We need to know what you are reading, eating, watching, listening to, and attending. We need you to tell us your stories about being a person of color in Madison and its surroundings. We need you to submit articles, ideas, photos as we celebrate our strength and growth. We need you to share your copy of UMOJA with friends at shops, work, church, and neighborhood gatherings. We also need your feedback about what we have done right and even things we may get wrong.
I can say this about myself. I have been recognized in many earlier issues of UMOJA, wearing one of my many personal and professional hats. That publicity has helped me grow in confidence. I know I am a better person because other people believed in me, thanks to articles that supported and followed me. I want that same feeling for others. So let me know your thoughts at lstanley@UMOJAMagazine.com. I promise I will read your comments faithfully.
We have a great lineup of articles this month, many focusing on a theme important to all of us: wealth and the economy. I hope you will read closely what Bob Wynn is doing to promote understanding about investment, entrepreneurship, and money. We also highlight upstarts that you may want to patronize.
Over the next few months, we look to focus on education, health and thanksgiving.
Finally, let me truly introduce myself. Many of you may know me primarily from my music, but perhaps don’t know my short story. I grew up in Milwaukee in a family of 5. I went to high school at John Marshall and attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison starting in 1974. I started playing the piano at the age of 5 and now serve as the Music Director for Mt. Zion Baptist Church. I am married to Tamera an administrator with the Verona Area School District and a singer. We perform with the Madison Symphony Orchestra; the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra and we produce the Gospel Carols concert each year. I have 4 children who live in Madison, Nashville, Simi Valley, and St. Louis respectively. I am a retired firefighter/paramedic for Madison and a former athlete for the UW track team. Lastly, I have written 2 children’s music books.
All of this has led me to this chapter in my life… being the person responsible for making sure the UMOJA magazine reaches you each month. Enjoy!