KWANZAA: DAY 1, UMOJA

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“Community involvement.”


Yesterday was day one of the celebration Kwanzaa. Day one focuses on Umoja, which is the community, familial, and ethnic unity. For those of you that don’t know what Kwanzaa is as a holiday, it was created back in the late 1960’s as a celebration to acknowledge those of African heritage. There are seven core principles, and yesterday was the day of that principle Umoja. And if you are African American, what does Umoja mean to you? I grew up in a predominantly African American family, but we celebrated Christmas my whole life. Now that I am an adult, I more and more lean toward the celebration of Kwanzaa. One of the reasons is because of the capitalist view of the holiday that is Christmas. But that is just a small aspect of the Christmas holiday. A second reason is that when you come from such a dismantled community, a holiday celebrating the uplifting of you becomes quite important.

And what I have noticed about the holiday is that it has grown year by year in popularity. More people are joining and leaving Christmas in greater numbers. Because of what it promotes, which brings me to day one. The community, family, and ethnic group’s togetherness. Nothing else in America is designed to uplift Black people. So with an introduction of Kwanzaa, it becomes very special. Bringing together friends and family, members of the community, working on a common core belief. And that belief is to take care of the people around you. Not just the ones who you share a kinship with, but the ones who live right next door. And with so much fragmentation, who could blame anyone for not wanting to take part in the festivities.

Day one is very important, if not the most important day because without that close bind between friends, family, and community, it becomes impossible to have the other six days that lead up to the last day. So I say Umoja, build relationships and get o know those around you. As well as strengthen the ties of kinship that already exist.


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