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.
dunbar project online
Ujima's pre-professional theatre arts training program is now offering online sessions. This program offers young theatre artists interdisciplinary training in acting, music, dance, and technical theatre. Classes and lessons are taught by professional artists with significant performance and teaching experience.
The online program is now accepting new students on a rolling basis. Register today to be a part of this prestigious program!
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.