Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to gather with family and friends. It is a time to be both thankful and thoughtful in ways that too often get lost in the daily demands of life.

I am blessed for the love and support of my family, mentors and down-to-earth friends. I greatly appreciate the way the Madison community has wrapped me in their arms as I undergo this incredible journey of maintaining the legacy of UMOJA Magazine that Ms. Milele Chikasa Anana labored and birthed.

These festive times also give me the opportunity to appreciate and express my gratitude to my Urban League of Greater Madison family and the UMOJA Board of Directors, especially Dr. Ruben Anthony and Dr. Chuck Taylor.  I am truly thankful to our staff, faithful readers and the organizations who support UMOJA with advertisements.

While with relatives and friends this season, political candor seems inevitable. Like it or not, the 2020 election is in full swing and a year from now, voters will head to the polls to cast ballots for U.S. president. This issue of UMOJA is dedicated to voting and knowing your voting rights.

Everyone has their reasons why they choose, or don’t choose, to exercise this constitutional right. I have mine. I don’t have to endure being spat on, savagely kicked or have bricks thrown at me. I don’t face phony poll taxes or literacy tests. Our ancestors of the past did, and I honor them by standing erect with my head held high each time I go into a voting booth.

For me voting is a right, not a privilege.

Marc Morial, National Urban League’s president and CEO, reflects on why the Black vote matters. We look at what pivotal role Black women play in elections. And, what it means to be a delegate in time for Milwaukee to play host to the Democratic National Convention.

We also introduce you to the University of Wisconsin-Madison senior who found courage to speak out against the university’s homecoming video that was blatantly absent of students of color.

Read about the acrobatic adventure of the Urban Cabaret fundraiser, along with the Dane County NAACP Freedom Fund Dinner which challenged all to make sure every African American is registered to vote and that every person, especially people of color, are counted in the 2020 census.

UMOJA also honors all military veterans this Veterans Day. A local vet reminds us why the holiday is important and what we can personally do to commemorate the day.

As you celebrate this holiday season, here’s a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “For each new morning with its light; For rest and shelter of the night; For health and food, for love and friends; For everything Thy goodness sends.”