Kwanzaa and Remember Katrina
By David Peterson
As we celebrate Kwanzaa this year and every year,
let's also remember the 7 principles of Kwanzaa and how they can help to
build, sustain and revive the communities affected by the victims of
Hurricane Katrina. I and others that I know have special ties with New
Orleans after being raised in southeast Texas - with New Orleans, Baton
Rouge, Lake Charles and other cities in Louisiana being a stones throw
away from our back yard. As such I feel that the 7 principles of Kwanzaa
need to be an essential part of rebuilding the communities of our next
door neighbors as a true testament to the spirit of Kwanzaa.
Habari gani, the daily greeting is Swahili for
'What is the News' - to keep our community's collective mind on the
rebuilding of the communities affected by the hurricanes. So that they
are not forgotten in our prayers and efforts as we go about our daily
lives and that their lives are returned to them. Our people through
history have weathered many times where communities were destroyed by
natural and unnatural forces and we have always returned and rebuilt to
become better and brighter.
Umoja means Unity and that one word signifies the
strength of what has given us the means of rebuilding, reinforcing and
reinventing our communities from ashes, whirlwinds, floods, wars and
other types of destruction.
Kujichagulia means Self-Determination, the spirit
that survives when everything else has been taken away by whatever
means. The same spirit that uses broken bricks, even bricks without
straw to build again and again to give our children a community to grow
up and foster their own spirit of Self-Determination.
Ujima means Collective Work, when carpenters live
with bakers and seamstresses who feed and clothe them while they build
one home at a time until a community is reborn. Bankers live with
engineers, students, and nurses who heal wounds and bring them back to
health - when they can return to bring back their talents to cause the
economy to grow, study to become doctors, and engineer power supplies,
cars, sewing machines, and other tools to stimulate our communities to
Ujamaa means Cooperative Economics, where we put
our pennies together to make dollars, dollars to make hundreds,
thousands and millions - sooner than if we all went our separate ways.
Nia in english means Purpose - why we are all
together in this one place, in this one country, on this continent, this
planet, this galaxy - to have a single purpose. Together.
Kuumba is creativity - creating bricks without
straw, feeding families on bread and peanut butter, teaching children
with paper, pencil and wisdom. Rebuilding a community that was once a
group of people together from nothing.
Imani is Faith - 'The Just shall live by faith'.
Live and keep going when you have nothing but you own life to show that
you are alive. 'Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the
evidence of things unseen'. We have to have hope that our communities
can be rebuilt, and see them being rebuilt even when there may not be
anyone listening to our cries of help to rebuild.
If ever the principles of Kwanzaa have more
meaning and need to be not only recited but practiced, rehearsed and
applied it is in this year when those 7 principles seem to be needed the
Daviyd Peterson: 10-year consultant,
instructor, trainer of digital divide solutions for home and
business. Helps African American and minority SME bridge the
digital divide by becoming wireless Small Business
Enterprises Offices (SBEs). Free article on Wireless
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