On behalf of Lorna's family, we thank you for your very generous response to her crisis. Lorna truly felt the love she was surrounded by and we remain humble and grateful in your light and love. She crossed over in peace knowing her family was debt free.
After much worrisome discussion about friends' and family's health and safety it has been decided to delay Lorna's Celebration of Life for one year, to Saturday June 26, 2021, in order to celebrate her life in the manner in which everyone wants, and in the manner for which she herself asked, we must wait. We regret this, but it makes the most sense to celebrate her most remarkable life and make note of all that she accomplished for her beloved community.
We invite all of you to keep in touch with Ujima Company and the house that Lorna built. Many people have committed themselves to carrying on her legacy of Love and Justice through the work of Ujima for generations to come. Opt in with your email for future announcements and keep updated on our work and Lorna's Legacy.
With Gratitude Always,
Ujima since its inception has stood for the call for justice for all. In honor of our brothers and sisters fighting for their basic human rights in the Black Lives Matter movement we will be dedicating our August #ArtThatHeals showcase to the theme of black lives matter. We welcome artists of all mediums, ages, shapes and sizes to submit your work to be shared with our beloved community in an effort to uplift and give voice to the many shades of this fight for justice. Please refer to the following for your submissions:
Can be original or recreated work (ex. singing a song from another artist)
Can be any art form/medium (ex. visual art, song, dance, movement, monologue, poetry etc.)
Video submissions should be no longer than 3 minutes max
Videos need to be recorded in landscape (horizontal orientation)
Videos should be captured with good lighting and sound
Submissions for our August showcase are due by
August 1, 2020.
*Please note not all submissions may make it into the final showcase based on quality, theme, and medium.
Our #ArtThatHeals Project is also a way for you to submit works in tribute specifically to Lorna. If you have dedicated pieces or messages we welcome you to share those as well.
Dear Friends and Family,
Lorna C. Hill, beloved champion for change in our community, has given Ujima Company members the responsibility to carry forward her vision of a community educated and healed through their art.
Ujima Company is not taking a pause. We are moving forward.
In her final direction to the company Lorna spoke of Love and Justice. Company members, new and many alumni members, are rededicating themselves in this moment to do the necessary work to make Ujima sustainable for many generations to come. To ensure that our grandchildren are also blessed by her work.
Ujima was blessed with Lorna’s physical being for over 40 years, guiding us through her vision, foresight and presence in the evolving world climate. Stories of African Americans brought forth to the world community through the stage touched the lives of all of us in a transformative way. How many lives did Lorna transform through her artistic vision? Through her writing, her poetry, her plays, her acting? These messages spread beyond the theater as art was used to educate in classrooms, in the streets, as we became collaborators and activists with Lorna.
Lorna’s genius was that she saw our potential when we had no idea of our own gifts. Lorna blessed us with the ability to see ourselves and our own power as individuals in the community of the world. She was the ultimate leader and team player who provided dynamic direction that allowed the picture to be created by the actors, all the while expecting and inspiring us to think about it, to always be present. You DARED NOT let her jump into action because you did not receive her direction, which was always given with the bold truth and love. Direction often started sweetly with the simple word: “Team…”
Lorna gave us a strong and magical foundation to build upon – Ujima: Collective work and responsibility. Over the last year the Board of Directors, Company Members and Staff have worked on a strategic plan to evolve the organization. Little did we know that the strategic plan would become the blueprint to move forward without her.
The theatre company is stronger as we have engaged new and alumni members to continue to produce work representative of Ujima’s excellence and to Lorna’s standard. Our hearts break and make us stronger in our resolve, prepared to move forward building a team that is cohesive and in love with what we do and the purpose we serve.
Honestly, a world without Lorna C. Hill is unimaginable. Yet, she gave us a vision to imagine and make real. Lorna’s spirit will never leave us, as we each carry her in our hearts. Her love and passion were so plentiful that you could not help but feel it! She made us all want to do better and do more, and every day ask ourselves did we do better today? We will, with Lorna in our hearts.
Thank you, Lorna.
Board President and Company Member
Lorna C. Hill BUFFALO, NY - Founder and Artistic Director of Ujima Company, Inc. for 41 years. Born June 25, 1951 at Mount Vernon, NY. Departed this life peacefully June 30, 2020. Dearest daughter of Ruby Byars, sister of Donna Mills, beloved mother of Amilcar Hill, and Zoe Scruggs, grandmother to Asa Hill and Solace Hill, and Aunt of Rikkia Mills. Dearest beloved friend of Rahwa Ghirmatzion, Bob Ball, and all of the Ujima Company Members 1978-present. A celebration of life is being planned and will be announced at a later date. To offer your sympathies during this difficult time you can send cards and gifts to Ujima Company, Inc. 429 Plymouth Avenue, Suite 2, Buffalo, NY 14213. For online messages of sympathies please share your condolences to the facebook page www.facebook.com/LornaCHillLove/.
In lieu of flowers donations will be graciously accepted at bit.ly/lornachill.
Ujima means "collective work and responsibility"
Ujima Company’s strength lies in its reliability, the consistency of its artistic vision, and its adherence to the principles embodied by the Swahili word for which it is named. For four decades, under the leadership of founder and artistic director Lorna C. Hill, the company has provided diverse Western New York audiences with solid, professional theatre experiences. While firmly rooted in the many traditions of African-American theatre, Ujima includes in its long history, productions from the traditions of other people of color, from other countries and cultures, and from the all-encompassing spectrum of traditional and contemporary American theatre. Ujima is constantly growing, evolving, improving.