2020 Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa Reflections – Imani


Today, the last day of Kwanzaa, the first day of the New Year, we focus on the last of the Nguzo Saba, Imani - faith. Imani encapsulates the hope and promise of Kwanzaa in its celebration of African American and African-descent peoples. As we explore each of the Nguzo Saba, we are exploring ways that African American folks can thrive, despite the centuries of degradation, oppression, and systemic inequities. Kwanzaa reminds us that there are concrete steps we can each take to ensure that the strength and beauty of African American community will continue. Kwanzaa is an implicit promise, a [...]

Kwanzaa Reflections – Imani2021-01-02T05:52:35+00:00

Kwanzaa Reflections – Kuumba


Today, the 6th day of Kwanzaa, is a day when I’m so annoyed at this extended pandemic! As we celebrate today’s principle from the Nguzo Saba, Kuumba - Creativity, I want a huge bustle of folk around me. I want to hear voices lifted in song, see someone drawing, watch folks dancing with abandon and joy to passionate drumming, listen to poetry being read, eat delicious food made with artistic zest. I want folks wandering in and out of my house all night, sharing, witnessing, celebrating the indomitable creativity of African-American folks and humans worldwide. Instead, this Kwanzaa, we’ve had [...]

Kwanzaa Reflections – Kuumba2021-01-02T05:34:50+00:00

Kwanzaa Reflections – Nia


This morning, folks in my house listened to Paul Robeson sing Ballad for Americans as we started our Kwanzaa reflections. Robeson, born in 1878, was the son of a runaway slave and an abolitionist. A man of amazing talents in every domain, he won an academic scholarship to Rutgers University where he was inducted into the national honor society and graduated valedictorian of his class. In addition to his intellectual brilliance, he also played four sports in college and was an All-American athlete in football. These accomplishments notwithstanding, Robeson is best known as an artist and activist - a talented [...]

Kwanzaa Reflections – Nia2021-01-01T09:35:45+00:00

Kwanzaa Reflections – Ujamaa


The principle of Ujamaa - Cooperative Economics - is deeply embodied within African-American communities and communities of African-descent folks worldwide. Living from this principle is what has enabled our peoples to survive conditions where few resources were left for our use. So much of the history of the United States is marked by white folks and white institutions controlling the work, labor and resources of BIPOC folks. Initially, we had outright slavery, where none of the economic benefits derived from the labor of Black folks went to Black folks. Now, many folks labor long hours in low wage jobs that [...]

Kwanzaa Reflections – Ujamaa2021-01-02T05:36:58+00:00

Kwanzaa Reflections – Ujima


This morning, the third day of Kwanzaa, my teen and I discussed today’s principle of Ujima – Collective Work and Responsibility. They immediately flashed to the utter disbelief they and many youth experienced as the conflict on preventative measures to address the pandemic unfolded. Wearing a mask and social distancing, for them, seemed the most basic action we could take for collective responsibility. Even as someone who prizes their individuality and personal choice, they were shocked that folks would choose to prioritize individual well-being over the collective well-being of the community. The pandemic has raised awareness of the need for [...]

Kwanzaa Reflections – Ujima2021-01-02T05:37:24+00:00

Kwanzaa Reflections – Kujichagulia


On the second day of Kwanzaa, we contemplate the principle, Kujichagulia. On the official Kwanzaa website, Kujichagulia – Self Determination – asks us “to define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves.” This year, I’ve had several opportunities when I’ve come face to face with some of the insidious ways that one’s commitment to self-determination can be undermined, especially as a Black person in the United States. Since approximately age 12, after graduating from my elementary school in Harlem, NY, I’ve walked and moved primarily in majority-white communities. As a teen and young adult, I did not [...]

Kwanzaa Reflections – Kujichagulia2021-01-02T05:37:50+00:00

Kwanzaa Reflections – Umoja


As the year comes to a close, I've decided to share a little of my family's tradition. When my children were born, I wanted to be choiceful about the holidays we celebrated. In addition to acknowledging the traditional holidays observed in our families of origin, we wanted to find a way to mark each year, to harvest our learnings and have it guide us as each new cycle of the earth begins. We wanted to bring intentionality and reflection into our life. We wanted to honor each of our unique voices and dreams while celebrating and contributing to the threads [...]

Kwanzaa Reflections – Umoja2021-01-02T05:38:22+00:00
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