A Kwanzaa Story
Our purpose is to work collectively to move in the direction of making our world a better place not only for ourselves but also for the future. My purpose is still being composed, but I feel that I am here to build bridges. Bringing the same gender loving community to work closely with the heterosexual community this week has forged a path of collaboration with entities that normally don’t connect or work cohesively.
During this week of Kwanzaa celebrations, we have connected with The Pride Center, a gay and lesbian community center, the Westside Gazette, a Black-owned newspaper, New Jerusalem Baptist Church, Stonewall National Museum, BTAN, and the World AIDS Museum. We are grateful for the collaboration and commitment to this week of Kwanzaa Celebrations.
In 1966 Dr. Maulana Karenga started the spiritual celebration known as Kwanzaa, which means first fruits of the harvest in Swahili. The spiritual celebration is comprised of seven Principles and each principle is a celebration for one day starting on December 26th through January 1st. The first principle of Kwanzaa is Umoja (Oo-moe-ja) which means unity for Black people including family, friends, and colleagues. The second principle is Kujichagulia (Koo-ji-cha-goo-lia) which means self-determination meaning we as a Black community speak for ourselves and determine ourselves. The third principle is Ujima (Ooj-ima) which means collective work and responsibility, we as Black people must work together to build and create a better existence for us. The fourth principle is Ujamma (Oo-ja-ma) which means Cooperative Economic meaning we as Black people need to support each by buying and supporting Black businesses. The fifth principle is Nia (Nee-ah) meaning purpose and that we as Black people are to understand and share our history and heritage to the next generation will know the rich lineage from when they come. The sixth principle is Kuumba (Kooumba) which means creativity and that we as a Black people are to make our environments more beautiful than when we inherited it and to share our creative talents; sculpting, painting, singing, musicians, and writing. The final principle is Imani (Iman-ni) which means faith and for the Black community to keep their faith in the Creator and our people. We may at times feel that we are all alone in the world, but we are all connected through the blood of the Creator.
Kwanzaa is a week-long spiritual celebration, but it should be a lifestyle to create and cultivate a better existence for our people. If we implement Kwanzaa Principles in our daily lives we would be able to see a better future for our people. So let’s start to create a better life for us by starting to live our lives through the Kwanzaa principle and our community will start to restore and reclaim our once brilliant Black existence.
Lorenzo Robertson, Emerging Interventions Manager The Pride Center at Equality Park
View more photos of the Kwanzaa event on our website: www.thewestsidegazette.com