A year ago, I packed up and headed to Madison for a job of lifetime. It’s been everything I imaged and much, much more. With the arrival of 2020, UMOJA Magazine has reached its 30th year of publication. UMOJA readers and our board members all agreed to honor this remarkable milestone with a year-long celebration.

We’re kicking off the year featuring a handful of past UMOJA covers from the past three decades showcasing the happenings that have brought us this year. We would be remiss not to include the history of UMOJA since its inception, along with tributes to my predecessor, Milele Chikasa Anana.

There will be lots of surprises this year. I don’t want to spoil it by telling you everything, but let’s just say UMOJA is entering a whole new level of delivering positive news about the African American community.

This month we honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and given the great tumult in our world today, we are fortunate, and even blessed, to have the words and deeds of Dr. King to guide us, inspire us and to give us hope. We provide a timeline on how Martin Luther King Holiday happened. And, we gathered all the events happening around the revered civil rights leader’s life. 

The teachings of Dr. King, along with the guidance of my parents and family, urge me to be the change I want to see in the world today. 

Aside from attending events, during the holiday I typically give the gift of life by donating blood. Don’t let it serve as just another day off from work or school.

Read about the opening of the new Boys & Girls Club in Sun Prairie and how young minds are preparing for a future in technology through the Maydm Makers event. Treasured words of wisdom from a 90-year-old Wisconsin man will remind readers how important it is to have faith.

Lastly, some of the movers and shakers around Dane County were generous enough to share their New Year’s resolutions. They are inspiring and remind many how we are not alone with our day-to-day struggles.

I struggle with New Year’s resolutions. It’s not so much as will power as it is remembering to put myself first. Personally, I am starting the new year doing just that by eating healthier, getting out from behind my desk and surrounding myself with positive people. I want to resume volunteering and maybe even take a belly-dancing class.

Professionally, I want to grow UMOJA’s team; empower Black people to see their potential through the voices of those we cover; and, expand our reach across the state and beyond.

Happy New Year!