Friday, December 28, 2012

Be Inspired to Celebrate Kwanzaa

There are some wonderful sites that can inspire you to create your own holiday traditions for Kwanzaa from art to food.

For a film on Kwanzaa visit The Black Candle

For inspiration on creative dishes check out Kwanzaa Culinarians.  This site is devoted to the celebration of Kwanzaa.

Black Eye Peas with Wild Brown Rice Risotto

Creating food that is healthy and delicious is more than possible with Bryant Terry, chef, author and activist.

Dishes Inspired by Terry Bryant

For gifts, how about the gift of laughter? Try the works of cartoonist Jerry Craft.  Mama's Boyz comic books and his children's books make wonderful gifts for Kwanzaa.

For toys visit  The Brownstone Playhouse. This site offers handcrafted one of a kind dolls, Brownstone Playhouses, and furniture.

Looking for a baby doll for the little lady in your life check out Positively Perfect Dolls for an array of African American dolls.  Dolls are now being sold in selected Walmarts.

Sesame Street: Kwanzaa Dancing with Elmo

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Why Celebrate Kwanzaa? Umoja the First Day

Many of us in the hood are so electronically hooked up that we have become an island unto ourselves but kwanzaa is that time of year that reminds us that we are a family and a community. As the saying goes "No man is an island," we are all connected. Gentrification, downsizing, unemployment and a host of other issues have hit our communities hard. As we enter 2013, the principles of Kwanzaa are tools that we and our children can use to build community. The Theme for 2012 found on the official website is Kwanzaa Us and the Well Being of the World: A Courageous Questioning.  Here are the Nguzo Saba Seven Principles of Kwanzaa

Umoja (Unity)
Umoja (OO-MO-JAH) Unity stresses the importance of togetherness for the family and the community, which is reflected in the African saying, "I am We," or "I am because We are."

Kujichagulia (Self-Determination)
Kujichagulia (KOO-GEE-CHA-GOO-LEE-YAH) Self-Determination requires that we define our common interests and make decisions that are in the best interest of our family and community.

Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)
Ujima (OO-GEE-MAH) Collective Work and Responsibility reminds us of our obligation to the past, present and future, and that we have a role to play in the community, society, and world.

Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)
Ujamaa (OO-JAH-MAH) Cooperative economics emphasizes our collective economic strength and encourages us to meet common needs through mutual support.

Nia (Purpose)
Nia (NEE-YAH) Purpose encourages us to look within ourselves and to set personal goals that are beneficial to the community.

Kuumba (Creativity)
Kuumba (KOO-OOM-BAH) Creativity makes use of our creative energies to build and maintain a strong and vibrant community.

Imani (Faith)
Imani (EE-MAH-NEE) Faith focuses on honoring the best of our traditions, draws upon the best in ourselves, and helps us strive for a higher level of life for humankind, by affirming our self-worth and confidence in our ability to succeed and triumph in righteous struggle.

Monday, December 24, 2012

"Under the Christmas Tree" Poems That Delight for the Holiday

Some books grow on you like Under the Christmas Tree by Nikki Grimes. This book of poem has become like an old friend. Every year we read it at Christmas time and renew old memories.

Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Joy to All - The Christmas Message From the White House

Since Michelle Obama has been in the White House, I have enjoyed following her “Move It” project and her Christmas Celebration. “This year’s theme is ‘Joy to All.’ It celebrates the many joys of the holiday seasons: the joy of giving and service to others; the joy of sharing our blessings with one another; and, of course, the joy of welcoming our friends and families as guests into our homes over these next several weeks.”  This year's decorations also pay tribute to our Armed Forces and their families.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Let Us Keep the Light Shinning in Sandy Hook

The Light Shines In The Darkness and the Darkness Has Never Put It Out"

My prayers go out to all the families in Newton, Connecticut.   Words cannot express the pain, sorrow and the lost we are feeling as a community.  We may never have answers for  why this horrendous crime occurred but we can keep our candle lit. As a community there is much work to be done but for now we can be a beacon of light for our neighbors in Newton and support them in their time of mourning.

I like the idea that Karen Wolrond shared on her blog, Chookooloonks for reaching out to the families of Sandy Hook. Please share with others and let the light shine.

"If anyone wants to mail sympathy cards or letters of support and solidarity to the school, the school address is: Sandy Hook Elementary School, 12 Dickenson Drive, Sandy Hook, CT 06482. Please copy/paste/share, anywhere you prefer. Prayers and sending a card may seem something small, but at least, it's something we can do."

“I think this is a stellar idea.  It's also something that our kids might enjoy doing to help process their feelings about what they hear on the news.”