The Real Reason We Should Celebrate Kwanzaa This Year

James Clingman | 12/28/2016, 4 p.m.
For 50 years, Black people in the United States have celebrated the seven principles of Kwanzaa. Established by Dr. Maulana ...

For 50 years, Black people in the United States have celebrated the seven principles of Kwanzaa. Established by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966, Kwanzaa is an African American and Pan-African holiday celebrated by millions throughout the world African community. Kwanzaa brings a cultural message, which speaks to the best of what it means to be African and human in the fullest sense. Our obvious support and celebration of this occasion suggests our commitment, not only to the principles of the Nguzo Saba, but also to their fruition. Thus, we ask you: What Kwanzaa success will you celebrate this year? What have you done during the year that qualifies as a celebratory event during Kwanzaa?

Have you achieved Umoja (Unity) among Black folks in your locale? Are you unified to the point that you love one another more and support one another more? Do you have proof that you have unified around some pertinent issue or cause? If so, then let the celebration begin. If not, let the lamentation begin.

How about Kujichagulia (Self-Determination)? What have you done in your city to demonstrate your commitment to determining the future of your children? Are others still controlling your destiny? Or have you taken it upon yourself to build and support your own institutions, open and grow new business, and create your own jobs?

Can you celebrate an accomplishment during 2016 vis-à-vis collective work and responsibility toward one another? Are you celebrating Ujima this year, or are you lamenting about what we have not done? If you have worked collectively on community projects such as neighborhood clean-up, elderly assistance, or tutoring, then your Kwanzaa celebration is in order.

Now, here’s my favorite: Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics). Have you done anything cooperatively this year to increase the economic viability and stability of your community? Have you pooled any of your money to finance a project or to form an investment group to assist micro businesses? Have you purchased Black manufactured products on a consistent basis?

What have you done to build and develop your community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness? In other words, what is your Nia (Purpose) and have you actualized that purpose? If you have, then you definitely have something to celebrate.

Have you created anything lately? What has been the level of your Kuumba (Creativity) this past year? Is there anything, not necessarily something material, that you created to benefit your community? Maybe, it was a new financial institution, a volunteer food service program for those in need, or maybe it was a new resolve and commitment to do better than you did the previous year. Creativity covers a multitude of endeavors.

Finally, how much Imani (Faith), do you have in the things you are celebrating? How much faith do you have in yourself? How much faith do you have in your brothers and sisters? How much faith do you have in the Creator’s ability to carry you through in times of struggle? Are you one of “little faith,” or is your faith sufficient to support you in your quest to fulfill the other six principles of Kwanzaa?