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.

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