Today , the second day of Kwanzaa is Kujichagulia (Self-determination) Day. The essence of the meaning of this principle is for African Americans to think and act in their own interest based on their own particular needs and grounded in their history and culture. Every people thinks and acts from its cultural and historical framework. So for example the strengthening and rebuilding of the black family has to start from and build on the Southern black family model. This model of family was reflective of the African proverb: It takes a village to raise a child.” Hence, the family was a reflection of the community and the community was an extension of the family.
On Kujichagulia Day, to discuss ways to expand their mental horizons through learning and appreciating their own heroes and heroines, beginning with their parents and grandparents and their parents who were part of the greatest generations. The unprecedented achievements of these generations- building model families and communities from the aches of slavery and in the face of Jim Crowism- white supremacy defined by legally imposed violence and terrorism and dehumanization and devaluation of life and lives. The women and men of these generations are our true heroines and heroes. They defined what it is to be strong and beautiful and productive. They faced challenges and odds which no other generation or people here in these United States had to face. They are deserving of our praise and respect; and thus, on this day of self-determination, we raise them as exemplars of the Kwanzaa principle Kujichagulia.
We remember and raised the names of our parents, grandparents and other loved ones who were part of the greatest generations. In calling their names, we bring forth their spirit and memories which will inform and guide our practice, our vision of what is possible and our aspirations for a more elevated life.
Each day of Kwanzaa, the family lights one of the candles, which represents one of days and principles of Kwanzaa. On Kujichagulia (Self-determination) Day, we light the red candle. The red candle is symbolic of struggle, i.e., effort and work. The lesson here is that progress in any domain of life comes through effort and work. Frederick Douglass instructs us:
If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing up the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.
The Kujichagulia commitment, like the Umoja commitment is often done while or with the candle lighting activity. The family begins by discussing Kujichagulia and how each family member has practiced Kujichgulia (previous year’s commitment) and how they will do more (next year’s Kujichagulia commitment) the following year.
Kujichagulia Family Activity
The Kujichgulia activity is intended to reinforce the Kujichagulia principle. Therefore, the family engages in an activity of its choosing to reinforce this Principle .
Kwanzaa Karamu (The Feast)
There is no special or mandatory food for Kwanzaa. The choice of food is strictly an individual family decision. You may choose to go out for the Kwanzaa meal, order out, or cook. The aim is to make it a special meal in the way you determine.
Heri (Happy) Kwanzaa