Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa Empower

December 26, 2013

Looking forward…


As we begin another year of life physical form, it’s good to center on some principles that are non-denominational and can apply to spirits of any belief system.

Unity-Umoja (oo-MOH-jah): This is the first principle of Kwanzaa and rather than restate information that is more fully covered at this Kwanzaa website -, I offer a “quick and dirty” definition that Kwanzaa is an African American tradition founded on an east African concept of Harvesting of the First Fruits.

Simply, Unity for me means intending to come together always rather than giving energy to any kind of separation. Practicing a principle means that we work on it when it’s comfortable and we try even when Unity is challenging. For instance, in our good clean clothes, strive to see that we are in unison with the homeless, drug addicted, the gun-shooters, because they, like us, were created in the image and likeness of the Creator.

 Kujichagulia-is the 2nd principle of Kwanzaa - Kujichagulia (koo-jee-chah-goo-LEE-ah): Self-Determination. I have always taken that to mean independence. Personal responsibility for my actions and their accompanying reactions.  Setting goals for myself outside of the expectations of others and being consistent in propelling myself toward the finish line. It’s persisting through the long haul.

Ujima-the 3rd principle of Kwanzaa - Ujima (oo-JEE-mah): Collective work and responsibility.
I love it when a group of people can work together around a plan, each taking responsibility for holding up their “end” and catching any balls that seem to be dropping, whether they are yours or not. This is commitment to a collective agenda!  Ujima is team play, whether it’s in a family committed to helping on another achieve their goals, or a productive work team, hardI-working faith team or an effective block club. If one reflects on the meaning of, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” you can probably find examples of Ujima in your life. Let’s work more collectively in 2014!

Ujamaa-This represents the 4th principle of Kwanzaa - Ujamaa (oo-jah-MAH): Collective economics.
This principal that speaks to as a community of consumers, supporting with our dollars, institutions that value and support and appreciate us! According to Nielsen Research African Americans spend annually, and yet, corporations that we support don’t recognize that power by spending with our African American owned agencies and businesses. Money can bring power when used with the intention of the empowerment of our community. Once we have knowledge we also have responsibility to ACT.

Nia- 5th principle of Kwanzaa - Nia (NEE-ah) is Purpose. Whoami and Whyamihere? This principal speaks to having a greater reason for your life than existence and the production of off-spring. When we reflect on the lives of people that we revere; our spiritual leaders, and heroes, we can see that we value, and in some instances worship them for who they were and what they did. I submit that some of us are purposed by our Creator to be way-showers and others are purposed to follow the way they are being shown. Personally, I don’t believe any soul was given existence to be worshiped, but I do believe some souls were sent to lead by pointing us in a direction that we should follow.  Purpose is about finding out who you are and why you were given life and then searching for what are purposed to DO to earn our space on the planet, “pressing toward the higher call.”

Kuumba- This represents the 6th principle of Kwanzaa - Kuumba (koo-OOM-bah): Creativity. Thinking about how to use each and every situation, adversity, and blessing and encounter to make your life and the lives of others better. Creating beauty with our words, as we speak possibility over situations that appear less than ideal.

Faith - This represents the 7th principle of Kwanzaa - Imani (ee-MAH-nee): Faith. Such a magnificent and personal principle. Faith to me means that despite the “appearance” of a situation on the News, on a health test, in a community, in a relationship, faith demands that we see everything as the Creator sees it, perfect, whole and complete, always affirming the best outcome for situations. We have to exercise and “flex” our faith muscles so that we weaken fear. We acknowledge that whatever we give our attention to multiplies. So if we feel weakened in a situation we AFFIRM our power because in affirming power and dominion we are calling forth from the Universe that which we want to give value to!
This does not mean we ignore a physician's health prescription or the guidance toward financial prudence, but that we use FAITH while DOING all we can to move ourselves to a better place.