Today marks the first day of Kwanzaa. The opening title: Harambe! means "Let's all pull together." In Kiswahili, the language adopted by celebration founder Maulana Karenga. During Kwanzaa we acknowledge and re-affirm ourselves to the principles of Kwanzaa referred to as the Nguzu Saba. Nguzu being principles and Saba being seven. You will note that I referred to Kwanzaa as a celebration rather than a holiday. I think this is appropriate because holiday is a synthesis of the words Holy and Day which infers a religious conotation. it should be understood that although Kwanzaa has a principle of faith, it is not a religious holiday and should not be promoted or treated as one.
Today's principle is Umoja, or unity. Dr. Karenga wrote in 1965 that he meant for Umoja to stand for:
Unity for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.
I have no doubt that with the expanded attention given to Kwanzaa that the last portion will no doubt be de-emphasized if not dropped all together. Today I want to emphasis a little remembered portion of Dr. Maulana's purpose for Kwanzaa and the cultural revitalization of black people:. Kawaida Theory. One of the central questions asked in this line of thought are:
Who am I?
Am I all that I could be?
My history teacher at Tuskegee, Prof. Fluker would pose the question:
what is the identity? (yourself, your subject)
What is thiere purpose?
What is thier direction?
He referred to this as the IPD: If you could could identify the person. If you could identify thier purpose and direction, most everything else about the subject (including oneself) can be determined.
Turning this inward we can ask ourselves: Who am I? Who are we? The answer to that question will hold the keys to unity.
What is my purpose? What am I here for? What is my family here for? What is my community here for?
What is my direction? Where am I going? Is it consistent with my purpose?
Am I being all that I can be? Is my family being all it can be? Is my community being all it can be?
Let's think on these things as we observe Kwanzaa.