Kwanzaa and the Seven Principles: Day One: Umoja: Unity

I have practiced, celebrated some form of Kwanzaa for at least the past 25 years. Kansas City, my home town, used to have a huge celebration every year. Even in college, the Black Student Association found a way to celebrate it every year. Now that my son is a little older, we will have a first celebration as a family. For me it has never been an either/or situation, but rather an 'and' situation. If you just look at the principles on face value, they really do offer a lot. Especially since it is that time of the year where we make resolutions. I try to use the principles as a working template to help me write out my resolutions. The good news is I know they at least discussed it in my son's school, so the principles won't be completely foreign to him. I am excited to share this with him this week. Hopefully, he will take something back to school with him.

The celebration of the 45th anniversary of Kwanzaa is a significant marker and milestone in itself, not only because of what it says about the expansive message and en-during meaning that Kwanzaa has for mil-lions throughout the world African commu-nity, but also because of what it says about us as a people. For it speaks to our profound commitment to self-determination; to cul-tural reaffirmation and the celebration of ourselves; to our right and responsibility to speak our own special cultural truth in a multicultural world; and to the practice and promotion of Kwanzaa’s core principles, the Nguzo Saba, the Seven Principles, the hub and hinge on which the holiday turns.

The principle of Umoja (unity) speaks to our need to develop and sustain a sense of oneness, righteous and rightful togetherness in the small and large circles and significant relations of our lives, from family and friendship to community and the cosmos. It urges us to practice a principled and peace-ful togetherness rooted in mutual respect; justice; care and concern; security of person; and equitably shared goods. And it calls on us to stand in solidarity with the oppressed, suffering and struggling peoples of the world in the cooperative achievement of these goods.

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