The 7 Principles of Kwanzaa, Celebrating Cooperative Economics

Sometimes it amazes me how quickly time passes. I tend to be in a time warp, unsure of what goes on from week to week. However, writing and publishing posts daily has really kept me grounded. I’ve definitely felt every day this week, so far. Now that my husband is back to work, I’ve returned to work also, making my days seem all the more full. Well, here we are… already day 3 of celebrating the 7 principles of Kwanzaa.

The Third Day (Umoja)

Red CandleThe third day brings us the principle of Cooperative Economics. Going in order from left to right, we light the second red (middle) candle. Like the first red candle, it is a representation of the struggle African Americans face. Official Kwanzaa website says Cooperative Economics means:

To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.

The greeting of the day is “Habari gani?” The response is, Umoja, meaning Cooperative Economics.

Significance to Me

I’ll be honest. I hadn’t been too concerned with Black economics until recently. My interest happened when I decided to refine my niche. On a whim, I thought I’d look into serving Black Business women. It seemed like a good choice. After all, I am one.

I started research this particular niche, and it was eye opening. More than eye opening. Learning about the disparity, and even talking about it right now, creates an odd feeling in the pit of my stomach. I’m really upset about the low economic prosperity many Black Women face.

Before my research, I heard about buying Black but really didn’t care. I thought, what did it matter? Now I see, it does matter. Every dollar I spend on a Black business means I’m helping decrease a disparity that shouldn’t exist in the first place.

Two colleages discussing ideas using a tablet and computer

A lot of people think that an initiative to support Black businesses is racist. For me, I see it as a promotion of equality. I see it as a way of boosting the economy, similar to the buy local initiatives. I support small businesses because I see them as an important, integral part to a healthy economy. Likewise, Black businesses are important, integral parts of a healthy Black community.

What I have noticed since turning my eyes toward Black business is a bit of push back. The idea of supporting a business because it’s Black owned seems to offend some, even Black owners. One thing I will say is, crappy services and products are crappy services and products regardless of skin color. I may seek out Black owned businesses, but I’m still looking for the best experience. I don’t hesitate to go outside of the Black community, if what I want isn’t readily available.

Which brings me to a major challenge. One of the most difficult aspects of supporting Black businesses is actually finding them.

Share with us your best Black Business Directory, so we can support the Black community.

For previous posts, visit the 7 Principles of Kwanzaa.