“U-N-I-T-Y that’s for a unity / U-N-I-T-Y love a black (wo)man from infinity to infinity” – Queen Latifah, UNITY
Habari Gani? Umoja!
The first principle in Kwanzaa is Umoja, which means unity. The Umoja candle is BLACK to represent the people. It is first because it all begins with us. As the African proverb says, “The ruin of a nation begins at home.” So, we light the black candle first to acknowledge that the strength of our community, of ourselves, begins and ends with the people within. To be strong, we have to be unified. We have to stand as one. #Harambee
During this time, we recognize the importance of unity in all aspects of our lives. Unity means more than standing in solidarity with this cause or that cause, although that’s a start. It means coming together as a family and a community.
Use this day to show unity with your family, friends, and your community as a whole. Here are some things you can do:
- Light the black Mishumaa (candle)
- Pour a drink (non-alcoholic if you have to) in the Kikombe cha Umoja, or the Unity cup. Do this in honor of your family members and African/African-American leaders and heroes who are no longer here.
- If you are celebrating with your family, this is a good time to tell stories of the family history. If you are with friends, share a favorite family story. Get to know each other. Knowing our neighbors brings us closer together.
- If you are a married couple, talk about your history together. Focus on the positive and those things that bring you happiness.
- Sing, play games and celebrate!
- Make a commitment to be more unified in the coming year. Remember, it starts with us.
- Finally, enjoy your Karamu (feast).