Ujamaa Day

December 29, 2014
Ujamaa Day

Fourth Day of Kwanzaa

Today is the fourth day of Kwanzaa, a celebration of the Kwanzaa principle Ujamaa/Cooperative Economics.

Cooperative Economics/Ujamaa: Sharing and pooling our financial resources and goods and services for the common benefit of family and community participants with the goal of building and sustaining cooperative economic enterprises.

The practice of mutual aid and sharing is a compelling example and model of cooperative economics fashioned by African Americans post-emancipation. This practice grew out of their shared understanding and ethical insight of that humans are dependent on each other and that loving, sharing, and caring are cardinal virtues which encourage and anchors cooperative economics and provides the best context for personal and social development.

Ingathering Activity: Today we come together as family to talk about the principle Ujamaaand how we have observed this principle in practice throughout the year. Like the Ujima, Ujamaa is a multiplier principle in that it impacts and reinforces the other principles. The model for cooperative economic must begin in the family. That is to say, the value and commitment for sharing is created and cultivate in the home.

Therefore, today we discuss ways of revenue sharing in the family. From the family we want to discuss the possibility of expanding to the larger community. We already have some forms of revenue sharing such as investment clubs. Employing the principle Ujamaa in the family unit and extended family is a small step toward addressing the economic well-being of African Americans.

Candle Lighting Activity

On the fourth day of Kwanzaa, the family lights the red candle. This candle is symbolic of the collective work and effort. Kwanzaa commitments are made around the principle of Cooperative Economics.


Ujima Day

December 28, 2014
Ujima Day

Third Day of Kwanzaa

UJIMA (00-GEE-MA) COLLECTIVE WORK AND RESPONSIBILITY: To build and maintain our community together and make our sister’s and brother’s problems our problems and solve them together.

The third principle, Ujima, encourages self-criticism and personal evaluation, as it relates to the common good of the family/community. Without collective work and struggle, progress is impossible. The family and the community must accept the reality that we are collectively responsible for our failures, as well as our victories and achievements. 

Commentary: The Ujima principle is best illustrated in history by my grand parents and their community in Sunnyside Texas. The adults in the community assumed the responsibility of ensuring the welfare of the families and children. They shared in the collective discipline and parenting of the children. They assisted each other in times of emergencies and disaster. In as word, the welfare of one was the welfare of all. 

A bundle cannot be fastened with one hand.

Explanation: No man is completely self-sufficient. We have need of each other.


Significant In African American Events

Underground Railroad

The system of receiving, concealing, and freeing blacks who escaped slavery is known as the Underground Railroad. The “Railroad” started in the early 19th century and was made up of a tightly knit network of safe houses located at strategic points along the escape routes coming our of the South. African Americans who traveled the Underground Railroad referred to also as the “Freedom Train”, were escorted by a conductor, the person working secretly for the “Railroad” and managed the planned escapes. The Underground Rail road had complex, mathematical codes that allowed the “conductors” and “operators” to evade capture.

Candle Lighting

On the third day of Kwanzaa the family  light the green candle next to the black candle. This candle is symbolic of future success and achievement. 

Happy Kwanzaa


December 27, 2014

A Celebration of Family, Community, and Culture

 Kujichagulia Principle:: “Commitment, duty, and responsibility of African Americans to speak and act in the interest of African Americans and the common good.”

Today is the second day of Kwanzaa, a celebration of the Kwanzaa principle Kujichagulia. This principle demands that African Americans, think and act from their own culture, which necessitates that we know our history. The African proverb says, “If you borrow a man’s legs, you will go where he directs you.”  


On Kujichagulia day we light the red candle. The red candle symbolizes work and  effort.  We want black children and adults to be productive and contributive. The red candle is a reminder of what is required of us to be productive and achievers.

Family Narrative on Kujichagulia

The story of the my family begins with my grandparents- Joseph and Silena Robinson. They live in the town of Sunnyside Texas, an all-black town during the period of 1900 to 1927. Only 35 years removed from slavery, African Americans in the town of Sunnyside created a cultured grounded in the values of Love, Sharing, and Caring. These values were embraced by the blacks in Sunnyside and is the finest example of the principle Kujichagulia.

Happy Kwanzaa

Umoja/Unity Day

December 26, 2014
Umoja/Unity Day


Today is the first day of Kwanzaa, a celebration of the Kwanzaa principle Umoja/Unity. This principle stresses and promotes that the immediate and extended family construct our family lives around thought and family practice which encourages harmonious relations. That is to say, we speak to each other in ways which center on love the love we have for each other which is expressed in our speech and conduct.


The Daily Reinforcing Greeting

Each morning and throughout the day we greet each other with Heri (head-dee) which implies, Happy Kwanzaa, or Heri Kwanzaa, or the Kwanzaa principle for that day Umoja (oo-mo-jah) Unity.

Libation and Libation Statement

The Kwanzaa activity of pouring of libation is a spiritual and venerable act which has its roots in traditional African societies. We pour libation to remember and to honor those who have gone before us. They are the ones who have made it possible for us to live with more dignity, freedom, possibilities, and opportunities today. So we pour libation for grandmothers and grandfathers great grandmothers and grandfathers, mother and fathers, aunts and uncles, bothers and sisters, husband and wives, siblings, and of course, friends.

Libation Statement

We call upon our ancestors far and near, Fathers of our fathers, mothers of our mothers, to bear witness to what we have done, by and in honor of their example, to continue to inspire us to make progress, and achieve morally and socially at our highest potential. We pour this libation to bring into our midst their venerable spirit of Loving, Caring, and Sharing, and their unyielding commitment to live ethical and productive lives. It is in honor of them that we pour this libation.

Umoja Kwanzaa Activity

Any activity which centers on reinforcing family togetherness, but done self-consciously. Eating together, going to a movie or the park or walk/run together to promote and feel the joy of being a family.

Kwanzaa Candle Lighting

Each day, the family (and/or) friends light the candle for the day representing that Kwanzaa principle. Today we light the black candle or Umoja candle. The black candle symbolizes black people. So the lesson is this: We want to build up the capacity of unity in the family, our neighborhoods and among our people. To achieve this, we discuss ways which we will build, enhance, strengthen our family bonds and community ties.

Kwanzaa Commitments

Each day a commitment is made around on of the Kwanzaa principles- that is what family members will do to practice that principle throughout the year in the context of their family and community. Today, we want to make a commitment around how we are going to practice unity in the family. Make sure your commitment is practical, achievable, specific, and measurable. That is to say, you can take daily and weekly assessment of how well you are doing.

Kwanzaa Gift Giving

Kwanzaa gift giving should be directed at children and youth based on: Kwanzaa commitments made and kept. Whatever is given book, to stress learning and education, and a heritage symbol, to reinforce our African heritage, must be given.                     

 Happy Umoja Day

December 25, 2014

Ready For Kwanzaa

December 23, 2014
Ready For Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa 2014

This indeed is the time of the month to prepare for the Kwanzaa celebration. The spirit of Kwanzaa is a joyful and celebratory one- celebrating the joy of family and embracing the common good- Loving, Caring, and Sharing. To be sure, Kwanzaa is a celebration of family, community, and culture, with the family as the starting and focal point. As such, for Kwanzaa 2014, the template for the Kwanzaa celebration will center on and highlight the founding matriarch and patriarch- Silena Williams-Robinson and Joseph Robinson and their descendants. This is the root and foundation of my family.

Implicit in the Kwanzaa celebration is the recognition of the value of family as the foundational element to nation building and the recovery and restoration of our communities and people. Strong and nurturing communities- the essential condition for producing children who thrive and flourish- is dependent on healthy and resilient families. The family of Silena and Joseph Robinson and the community they inhabited and helped build is a representative model for black people today and reminds us that what was possible for Silena and Joseph Robinson and their community is possible for us today. Similarly, each of you should celebrate your family, give recognition and pride of place to your founding grand (and/or great) parents.

Preparation and Planning

  1. Review and discuss the meaning and purpose of Kwanzaa
  1. Review and discuss the meaning of the 7 Principles of Kwanzaa
  1. Gather your “Kwanzaa Set,” review the meaning of the Kwanzaa symbols
  1. Plan your daily Kwanzaa activities. These activities highlight and reinforce the principle for that day.
  1. Review your 2014 Kwanzaa commitments

To be sure, Kwanzaa is useful and powerful cultural vehicle for building and strengthening the family, and supports the development of children with a strong achievement ethic- Ready for Kwanzaa.





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