It was July, 2008 and after an Urban League of Greater Atlanta – Young Professionals (at the time Atlanta Urban League Young Professionals) meeting, everyone headed to Amore for drinks and networking. Ciji & Travis were seated near each other however were focused on their own individual conversations. Subtle glances at each other and conversation blending resulted in Travis acknowledging Ciji’s presence and so began “our story.”
Travis’ game plan was to invite Ciji to the Personal & Professional Development committee meetings and woo her with his leadership skills and passion for community service. It worked. Ciji joined the committee in November after several invite emails from Travis and in December, 2008 they went on their first date to Top Floor.
Dating didn’t disrupt the desire to change the world, so they both continued to serve in leadership roles in various organizations in Atlanta as well as work together on the public relations and marketing strategy of When the Cops Come Knockin, a book that Travis co-authored in 2009.
“I believe that we are meant to be together. I believe that we were always meant to be together, but life chose to make us take a twist or two here and there before we could connect. Those twists may have slowed us from each other, but I know they will serve us in what we can build, and I am so thankful for your patience, support, understanding and love, and I am uber-excited about having you, Ciji, in my life the way you should properly be in my life.” ~ Travis Townsend (November, 2009)
At some point the service synergies outweighed the relationship and a friendship blossomed. From 2010-2013 Travis and Ciji were the dynamic servant leadership duo and worked hand in hand to grow the Urban League of Greater Atlanta Young Professionals. The years were filled with long hours executing projects such as the Entrepreneur Boot Camp, Dream Catchers Scholarship & Awards Reception, executive board retreats, voter registration drives, Mingle & Serve holiday gathering at Big Bethel senior community, Super Saturday voter education forums, Project Ready mentorship programs, Young Professionals Day at the Capitol and city-wide volunteer projects; just to name a few.
In 2014 something changed. The stars aligned and the future became crystal clear. July, 2014 marked the second 1st date as well as a going away celebration as Ciji was preparing to move to New Orleans and embark on a new adventure. This first date was the last first date and the beginning of forever.
“There are many people in this world that will never experience the special feeling that I get from you regardless if we are in person, on the phone or just on the same wavelength.” ~ Ciji Tatum (May, 2015)
After a yearlong long distance courtship sharing many magical memories, Ciji accepted a position with Cox Communications and prepared to move back to Atlanta. Similar to a Lifetime movie love story, Ciji returned to the love of her life exactly 365 days to the date that she moved in July, 2015.
A year of traveling adventures including trips from Nashville, Egypt, Michigan and everything in between; a year of time well spent with loved ones and friends and a year of unforgettable memories sums up the first full year of their relationship in the same city.
July 2008 – July 2016 was a rollercoaster ride and after each ride, Ciji & Travis continued to hop back in line and enjoy all of the twists and turns. On, July 15, 2016 at approximately 7:50 p.m. the ride stopped and time stood still. At Ciji’s birthday dinner, Travis got on one knee, professed his love and asked Ciji to be his wife.
The story continues in summer, 2017 and we are ecstatic that our family and friends will help us begin the next chapter.