UMOJA Magazine partnered with the Office of Equity, Partnerships and Engagement, in collaboration with Madison Metropolitan School District’s Black Excellence Think Tank, to provide this special Youth Voices issues. We recognized back in April the need to give middle and high schoolers a space to comfortably express how the coronavirus pandemic disrupted their lives. We did so through a series of virtual workshops including visual arts, poetry/spoken word, storytelling and news reporting. 

Laughing with friends, shopping, or experiencing that first kiss from a secret crush, are absent from their 2020 school-ending memories. Some poetically championed the mandatory social isolation as a time to bond with family. 

The mood of the workshop shifted as the nation watched a Minnesota police office press his knee, demonically, on George Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds as he lay handcuffed belly down on the street. The May 25 killing caused some workshop participants to redo their assignment. 

UMOJA has devoted half of the publication towards showcasing their work. As readers, you will see a pattern of strength, hope and resilience from the minds of today’s youth. 

Photographs can be as powerful as words. Photographer Vernon Brown used his camera lens to record the cries for justice, along with the rise in youth activism around Madison. 

We know discussing racism with children can be difficult to tackle. We have an article which provides age-appropriate tips on how to start this important conversation. UMOJA also asked former Madison Police Chief Noble Wray whether “The Talk” Black parents have with their children, is still effective today, following the senseless death of George Floyd. The Minneapolis father and husband complied with officers and it still cost him his life. 

Next month UMOJA will be publishing a special Black Lives Matter issue along with a Commemorative Magazine honoring the life and legacy of our beloved Milele Chikasa Anana who passed away on May 6, 2020. 

UMOJA Magazine is a Black business that cherishes its readers and supporters. Help sustain Ms. Milele’s wishes for this publication by subscribing, advertising or making a contribution. Subscriptions and renewals can be done online at Other means of support can also be mailed to UMOJA Magazine, P.O. Box 259538, Madison, WI 53725-9538.