Ever wonder why certain people cross our paths in life? I know I do. 

As the saying goes, some people come into our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime. I thought about this while preparing a brief speech for the school renaming ceremony for the one and only, Milele Chikasa Anana.

I was blessed to have known her for just 18 months. The connection we made through her guidance and inspiration in preparing me to take the helm of UMOJA Magazine feels everlasting. She uprooted my childhood lesson of “being seen, not heard.” Ms. Milele taught me that it was my right, and my duty, as a Black woman, to make my voice heard. I can almost see her reaffirming my responsibilities as publisher and editor to tell the stories of our people customarily left off the evening news or front page of newspapers. “If you don’t, who will?” She would say.

In this issue of UMOJA, we share all the pomp and circumstance during the unveiling of the newly renamed Milele Chikasa Anana Elementary School. The Umoja symbol, which means unity and togetherness, is part of the school’s new identity. Interim principal, Chelsea Prochnow, added: “We look forward to truly making Anana Elementary School the gem it deserves to be, because the students are Ms. Milele’s legacy.”

Also in this issue, we welcome students to the start of the 2021-22 school year. Hear from Verona’s new top educator, Dr. Superintendent Tremayne Clardy, who reflects on breaking the color barrier, among many other things. Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings provides the roots of Critical Race Theory. And, read ways to recognize students struggling with depression and anxiety.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks which were the worst acts of terrorism on American soil to date. Milwaukee-native, Herman Amos Jr., gives a firsthand account of how he narrowly escaped death. And, we talked to local leaders about what they remember on that infamous, dark day in history.

We jammed packed this issue with lots of community events, too.  It just kept getting fuller and fuller, so there’s lots of content to enjoy.

The UMOJA staff is thankful for our readers and supporters. We hope you are enjoying the insightful articles and photographs of your neighbors and friends we provide monthly.  We rely on your paid subscriptions and financial support to keep this local treasure coming to your homes, offices and libraries, among other places.

Take a moment to send a $36 check to renew or subscribe to UMOJA for one year. UMOJA is fortunate to have had the Urban League of Greater Madison save Wisconsin’s oldest Black magazine. It is, however, run and operated as its own entity. Send a check or contribution to UMOJA Magazine, P.O. Box 25953, Madison, WI 53725-9538.

As summer comes to an end, another beautiful season approaches. Fall. Let’s take these remaining months to bring out the very best of ourselves.