Many people in Madison knew Milele Chikasa Anana, who passed away on Wednesday at age 86, as the longtime publisher and editor of UMOJA magazine, the trailblazing publication that highlighted the incredible people and stories of Madison’s African-American community.
A significant part of the community also knows her as mentor, advocate, community leader, trailblazer and “Village Mother” for her lifetime of volunteer efforts, activism, community organizing, extensive mentoring, and willingness to serve those in need.
Hedi Rudd, director at Badger Rock Neighborhood Center and a longtime close friend of Anana, remembers her fondly.
“I remember her on assignment … Cultivating and supporting new talent. Opening doors, sharing her knowledge and wisdom, holding us accountable while carrying us to new heights we never thought imaginable, fighting for Black people to be recognized fully and without restrictions, pouring her heart and soul into our village,” Rudd wrote on her Facebook page Wednesday.