Imani/Faith: Seventh of Kwanzaa

December 31, 2010

A Celebration of Family, Community and the Common Good

Faith/Imani

To believe and trust in ourselves, our parents, our teachers, and our leaders, and our ability to overcome adversity while making progress as a people

Perspective on Faith

The Kwanzaa principle “Faith” is the bedrock or foundational principle. Faith is what sustains us in difficult times, allowing us to see beyond the immediate. For children and youth as well as adults, this principle is provides grounds for hope and possibility.

Focus: What Faith Day is about?

Faith Day focuses on activities which reinforce the Kwanzaa principle of believing and trusting in the caring adults around us and our ability-individual, family, neighborhood, and nation- to make progress and improve our collective lives. Some activities may include, but are not mandatory:

  • Make the celebration focus on your family
  • Make the celebration festive and joyous
  • Try to have a special meal- at home or away

Faith Day Activities:

  • Meditate on the meaning of faith in your life
  • Meditate on the meaning faith in your family
  • Write a letter of appreciation or thanks for someone who has believed in you and your endeavors
  • Express to your parents, love one or significant other how appreciative you are of their support

Faith Expressed in your family or in Black History

Faith is life’s anchor in times of uncertainty/ faith is the substance and spirit which makes tired hearts refreshed and/ dead hopes rise with the joy of life/ faith is the promise of tomorrow at the close of dark night/ the triumph of life over death/ love is stronger than hate/ right is more confident than wrong/ and that good is more permanent than evil

-Howard Thurman


I LEAVE YOU FAITH. Faith is the first factor in a life devoted to service. Without faith, nothing is possible. With it, nothing is impossible. Faith in God is the greatest power, but great, too, is faith in oneself. In 50 years the faith of the American [African American] in himself has grown immensely and is still increasing. The measure of our progress as a race is in precise relation to the depth of the faith in our people held by our leaders. Frederick Douglass, genius though he was, was spurred by a deep conviction that his people would heed his counsel and follows him to freedom. Our greatest [black] figures have been imbued with faith. Our forefathers struggled for liberty in conditions far more onerous than those we now face, but they never lost the faith. Their perseverance paid rich dividends. We must never forget their sufferings and their sacrifices, for they were the foundations of the progress of our people.

-Mary McLeod Bethune


Man must believe that however hard the road, however difficult today, the tomorrow things will be better. Tomorrow may not be better, but we must believe that it will be. Wars may never cease, but we must continue to strive to eliminate them. We may not abolish poverty, but we must believe that we can provide bread enough to spare for every living creature and that we can find the means to distribute it…we must never cease to try to build a society in which the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man become realities.

-Benjamin E. Mays

Candle Lighting Activity

Candle Lighting: On the seventh day of Kwanzaa the family lights the green candle. This candle is symbolic of the prosperity and success. The placement and order of the Kwanzaa candles teach and reinforce valuable lessons for the family. The green candle is symbolic of a prosperous future which comes about as a result of work and effort. Hence, the family or community rewards the children and youth for their achievements.

The candle lighting activity presents one of the best moments for family members to assess their practice around “faith” and make a specific commitment to practice “faith” during the next year.

Note: Emphasize the positive in the assessment. Do not start with what has not been done. Reinforce and reward even partial achievement or success. Record your family commitments in a Kwanzaa journal.

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