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Celebrate 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 life.

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 most.

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 Internet Security and other related articles Bridging the Digital Divide

 

 

 

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