This month we mark 45 years of service to you, dear readers. It makes me proud to say I’ve had the honor of working at ESSENCE for 12 of them, and I’m just as passionate about our mission today as I was when I first started. Like so many of you, I was a fan of the brand from the moment I first opened the pages of the magazine and saw Black women who looked, spoke, felt and dreamed just like I did. I will never forget the anniversary issue with Lena Horne on the cover, simply radiant in a dove gray gown, posed in a warrior stance, beaming her megawatt smile. Another one of my faves is from our 30-year celebration: The image is a fashionable rainbow of beautiful Black women of every hue, arms wrapped around one another in the spirit of sisterhood. I have this one posted in my office to remind me each and every day of the importance of surrounding ourselves with positive images, stories and moments that elevate, uplift and inspire us. The best part for all of us who work here is when we hear from you. We love it when you write in and tell us how much you appreciate the work we are doing to put Black women first, bring the love and make sure that the representations of us push beyond stereotypes to showcase our lives in full. But truly, it is YOU we have to thank—for the many years you’ve supported and celebrated with us, the stories you’ve shared, and the impact we’ve been able to make on our collective history and communities, together. There is so much more to come. We want to be everywhere you are, and with our expanded offerings in the digital space—new Web site channels, videos, social networking platforms, mobile apps and more—we’re providing more ways than ever before for you to connect with ESSENCE. I hope you’ll take a moment this month to let me know some of your favorite covers and stories of the past 45 years. Happy anniversary! Stay in touch, VANESSA K. DE LUCA Editor-in-Chief Twitter: @Vanessa_KDeLuca Instagram: vanmommy E-mail: This letter was originally published in the May 2015 issue of ESSENCE magazine.