Today begins the African American celebration of Kwanzaa. A lot of people deride Kwanzaa as being a made up holiday – but aren’t they all? I like it because it creates a connection between African traditions and African Americans. The holiday season has become so commercialized that to be honest, it drains me. So in the spirit of the season, I want to share the principles of Kwanzaa in hopes that somehow we can get back to collectiveness and unity in our homes and communities.
Principles of Kwanzaa
UMOJA means unity. Striving for and maintain unity within our families, community and nation.
KUJICHAGULIA means self-determination. Defining ourselves, naming ourselves, creating for ourselves and speaking for ourselves.
UJIMA means collective work and responsibility. To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems, and to solve them together.
UJAMAA means shared wealth. Cooperative economics can help African Americans take physical control of their own destinies by understanding that no one can be totally self sufficient.
NIA means purpose. To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
KUUMBA means creativity. The goal is to do as much as we can to leave our community more beautiful than we found it.
IMANI means faith. To believe with all our hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.
So much is happening across the country within the African American community. The holiday season is supposed to be one of hope, joy, faith and love. But many have lost loved ones or are suffering injustices which have caused them to lose a grasp on the hope, joy and faith they’ve once had. It is my hope that through collective focused energy somehow we can build from within and set a new standard for generations to come. Happy Kwanzaa!