The 7 Principles of Kwanzaa, Celebrating Collective Work and Responsibility

Goodbye 2016Ah! New Years Eve. My son returns from his grandparents tonight. Two long weeks. It’ll be good to have him in the house again. It’s odd. I’m always excited to see him off and have more me time. However, a few days in, I’m missing him. One thing for sure, I’m glad he’ll be here to roll in the New Year.

So… where were we on Kwanzaa?

The Sixth Day (Ujima)

Day six! As always, we get the privilege of lighting another candle. This time, it’ll be the second green candle, which represents the hope and future of African people. This candle also represents Collective Work and Responsibility. Official Kwanzaa website says Collective Work and Responsibility means:

To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems and to solve them together.

The greeting of the day is “Habari gani?” The response is, Ujima, meaning Collective Work and Responsibility.

Significance to Me

I absolutely love this principle. However, I’m not very good at it. It’s just not something that’s ingrained in me. I think of me and mine then there’s everyone else. Those in my circle (family, friends, clients, those I have a close connection with) are the ones I’m cheering for and rooting for. I’m looking for a ways to support them. Then there is everyone else.

Connected Community-minAs I reflect on my answer, I think I know why I think like that. It’s about community and how I define it. I go out in my community everyday, which consists of the people I know and see… the people around me. They’re tangible and accessible. Whereas the Black Community is more of a concept to me. Where is the Black Community? Where do I go to find it? How do I join it? That’s right. I was born into it. Wherever I go, I take me with me, and along with me, a piece of the Black Community.

I don’t know. It seems so distant. It’s like walking in the store, seeing a Black person, and making eye contact as a way to say, “I’m Black too.” To what purpose? What does it mean beyond that? We as a Black Community lack unity. I wonder why. Is it because of people like me who refuse to identify as African because they want to be fully American? Don’t get me wrong. I am Black. By African, I mean the continental African culture. By American, I mean the continental American culture. Really, I want inclusion in my home country. Yet, I can’t help but think my desire puts a fence on this idea of Collective Work and Responsibility.

What do you think about tconnectivity in the Black Community?

For previous posts, visit the 7 Principles of Kwanzaa.