Monday, January 16, 2012
This morning my grand nephews woke me up singing Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day to you. I can't help but think how things have changed since Dr. King cast his shadow on this earth. When my son was growing up in the eighties, I remember sending a note to his school asking why they did not celebrate Black History Month. His school library had special exhibits each month on different cultures from Asia to Russia to South America but Black History Month came and went without any mention. The powers that be sent me a message that they had a picture of Martin Luther King Jr on the bulletin in the back of the lunchroom. It never dawned on them how insensitive they were to the young Black children who attended the school. I really wanted to organize a sit down MLK Jr. style at his school instead I wrote a letter giving a history of Africa going back some forty thousand years explaining that although Dr. King is one of the most important figure in African American History, he is part of long historical legacy.
We have come a long way. Today my nephews celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, Black History Month and Kwanzaa in school. Fortunately, for a new generation the story of Martin Luther King still stands out as a beacon and a catalyst for change. How appropriate that people now celebrate his birthday as a day of service. Did you volunteer for any special services today?
Sunday, January 1, 2012
Kwanzaa is part of the holiday season but the principles are also a way of life. Let the wisdom and the principles guide this new year.
The Seven Principles (Nguzo Saba) of Kwanzaa are:
Unity: Umoja (oo–MO–jah) -to strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
Self-determination: Kujichagulia (koo–gee–cha–goo–LEE–yah) - to define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.
Collective Work and Responsibility: Ujima (oo–GEE–mah) - to build and maintain our community together and make our brother's and sister's problems our problems and to solve them together.
Cooperative Economics: Ujamaa (oo–JAH–mah) - to build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
Purpose: Nia (nee–YAH) - to make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
Creativity: Kuumba (koo–OOM–bah) - 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.
Faith: Imani (ee–MAH–nee) - to believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.