Today we celebrate the third principle of Kwanzaa: Ujima, which means collective work and responsibility.

It is a beautiful thing when we can join together in what we practice and what we preach for the greater good of our families and communities. There is a magic that flows through that level of interconnectivity that is a kin to your favorite team having a great season and then topping it off by winning the championship. When we all agree to take responsibility for what is our part, our role in the healing of our wounds and the strengthening of our people, our collective work becomes stronger than anyone of us could have been on our own. Frankie Beverly sings it best, “WE ARE ONE”.

I am learning so much about the practices of Kwanzaa from communicating with other people who are celebrating this year and who have celebrated in the past. If we were going by the founder’s guidelines (which I think we should do yet I have admittedly not done so far) today we would be lighting the first green candle for Ujima – Collective Work and Responsibility. The first day we are to light the black center candle which stands for Umoja – Unity. The second day the first red candle is lit which stands for Kujichagulia – Self Determination. I have been trying my hardest to pronounce Kujichagulia. I will get it eventually. It is the most difficult of the Swahili words used with the celebration to speak and spell.

Check out the official Kwanzaa website here for more details:
Celebration Procedures

I know we are not where we want to be still we are not where we used to be either. It is very inspiring to see so many people continuing to embrace this celebration of African principles which serve to help us grow as individuals and as a community.


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