How The Principles of Kwanzaa Can Benefit Our Community
by King Amare
It’s that time of year again! Folks are rushing to the stores buying gifts for their loved ones & gifts for those they barely even like. Unfortunately, millions of dollars flows through our fingers like water & straight into the hands of those who oppress our community. But it’s okay because it’s Christmas right?! Some of us suffer from a condition known as Stockholm Syndrome in which we’re so in love with our oppressors, but enough about that. Let’s talk about how the principles of Kwanzaa can actually be of benefit to us as a community.
If we’re to progress as a race, Umoja (Unity) will be the glue that will cement us. After integration, black people have chosen individualism as their standard for progressing in a Euro-centric society. When we look at the statistics, black people have not progressed at all economically. We own very few businesses & have very little to no transferrable wealth to leave the next generation. There is a solution available via the unification of the race. Through 400 years of chattel slavery, many of us were forced to abandon our original names & were given the names of our slave masters.
Presently, we do have the option of dropping all Euro-centric names & taking on more ethnic names that will allow us to define ourselves in our work. This would give us an identity that will display pride (kujichagulia). Instead of allowing our oppressors to create jobs for us and speak for us, we will direct our energy towards building venues for our creative works. Our music, entertainment & politics needs to be controlled by us.
Since a new year will be starting in a couple of days, I’d like to challenge us to work together collectively. I’m calling bloggers, vloggers, entrepreneurs & others to team up & take the initiative for collective work & responsibility (Ujima). This could be coming together for a particular project, initiative or some sort of research that would be of benefit to the community at large. We could fund a food drive, clothing drive, or even help clean-up our streets & improve our neighborhoods. We could hit the streets to mentor our younger brothers & sisters.
Through the use of cooperative economics (my favorite principle) or Ujamaa, we can aggregate the black dollar to actually build functional communities. According to the 2016 Neilsen report, black people have an estimate of 1.1-1.5 trillion dollars in purchasing or consuming power. We’re legitimately the 15th largest economy in the world. Think about this deeply for a second. We could literally start our own country if we wanted to with all of the spending power we have. We must first invest & develop our own infrastructures. This may be a tall order to fill for now. In the meantime, I’d like to suggest that we support black owned businesses consistently throughout the entire year & not just for “boycotting” purposes when our brother or sister is gunned down. Every move from now on should be done with greater purpose & understanding (Nia). The lack of not deciding on a strategy to uplift our community has been to our detriment. With all of the education & trades that we hold, we could use these skills in building up our community. All we need is to be focused & committed in doing so.
In conclusion, we can’t forget the last two principles of kuumba (creativity) and imani (faith). Since we’re coming up on a New Year, I know many of us have plans & resolutions. Make a promise to yourself that whatever your gift may be, you consider using it to heal yourself & our community. The creative arts can be used in aiding the healing process . It’s not limited to acting or writing songs. In fact, you could even use scrapbooking, journaling or blogging to get your creative ideas out there. If we’re going to thrive as a community, I’d suggest a dose of faith. If we reflect on how our ancestors fought for us to get here today, we know they had to possess tremendous amounts of faith. This is fundamental if we’re going to continue to progress & uplift of our people.