Thursday, December 25, 2008

I'm Invited to a Kwanzaa Celebration Tonight

Originally published December 2007.

The word Kwanzaa often brings a bit of smirk to the faces of some people. In fact, quite a few joke about it or ridicule the celebration. Right-wingers love to scoff at it altogether. I suppose that is because it essentially is for black folks and you know how the right-wingers like to have their kicks over 'those' people.

Seven candles, each with an African name, each with a quality of life that is deemed an important element in the quality of life in a societal setting. Kwanzaa was created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, former chair of the black studies department at California State University, Long Beach, to "reaffirm and restore our rootedness in African culture."

Another reason that the right-wingers dislike Kwanzaa is because it is viewed as anti-Christian, especially as it begins right after Christmas. They feel that it takes away from the birth-story of Jesus.

The celebration teaches the 7 elements of family and community living:

Umoja (Unity)To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.

Kujichagulia (Self-Determination)To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves.

Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)To build and maintain our community together and make our brother's and sister's problems our problems and to solve them together.

Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together.

Nia (Purpose)To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.

Kuumba (Creativity)To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.

Imani (Faith)To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

I find it interesting that many right-wingers trash and negate the Kwanzaa celebration without knowing what it is all about. If they did understand the seven principles, would they realize that this celebration attempts to uplift the black child and his family, perhaps giving him a lesson in self-determination, a lesson of hope to be a better person, a better citizen, a better parent?

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