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Day 6: Kuumba, Disabled-ly

Day 6: Kuumba, Disabled-ly

Habari Gani?! Kuumba.

We are now on Day 6 of Kwanzaa, Disabled-ly.  Today’s principle is Kuumba, or creativity.  You can read more about Kuumba on the original post and see the types of activities you can do.

This principle is all about the creative living in each of us.  The disabled community is no different.  In fact, the disabled community gets creative even outside of the arts.  We have no choice! We a paint. We build. We sew. We craft. We write. We turn into MacGuyvers when we need to. (Do ya’ll remember him?).

Kuumba, Disabled-ly is a testament to our ability to overcome the structural/institutional barriers we face on a daily basis.  Whether we are figuring out how to live in an inaccessible apartment or do different tasks independently, we seem to figure it out.  Again, we have no choice.  I feel the best part is that we have no problem turning to each other for support as we ‘get our Kuumba on.’

There’s just one more night of Kwanzaa and on that night many people exchange gifts and enjoy a Karamu (feast).  Until then, how do you get creative?

Day 5: Nia, Disabled-ly

Day 5: Nia, Disabled-ly

Habari Gani ya’ll!! The principle of the day is Nia, or Purpose.  As I wrote on the original Nia post, “Nia is not just another principle about being uplifting and working together. But, it’s a principle focused on rehabilitating our community.”

The principle focuses on restoring the community to its traditional greatness.  I pains me to say that the disabled community hasn’t had a history of “greatness” as we know it.  That is not to say we don’t have great leaders and community members.  All I am saying is that when you look through disabled history, you will see it through an Abled lens.  Court cases, media, medicine, education, etc. have all been built or written in such a way that disabled people weren’t given space to be great.

Well, every generation there is that one person…the model disabled person, the token, the “inspiration”.  And guess what, we’ve been working to change that.  So here, instead of restoring our disabled community to its traditional greatness, we are building our own narratives, writing our own stories and letting people know how great we have always been.

Then, a few generations from now, WE will be the example of traditional disabled greatness.  We move with purpose.

Visit “Nia means Purpose” for some activities for the day and, see how you can make it work, disabled-ly.

Day 4:Ujamaa, Disabled-ly

Day 4:Ujamaa, Disabled-ly

Habari Gani ya’ll!

The principle of the day is Ujamaa, or Cooperative Economics.  I love all the principles and besides Kujichagulia, this is a favorite.  Note: I have one more favorite.  You can read more about Ujamaa on my original post. And yup! Another principle I believe the disabled community demonstrates quite well.

How?

For many of us, entrepreneurship is our livelihood.  And for many of us, our audience is other disabled folks and organizations.  We create online stores and sell pins, t-shirts, bags, original artwork, books. (We’re a creative bunch, eh?).  In other words, we build and maintain our own stores, and we circulate our disabled dollars.

That’s not to say we are rolling in the dough.  But it does mean we support each other’s endeavors.  I think it has something to do with understanding how hard it is to create income as a disabled person in many instances.  It could be hiring discrimination or it can be income limits to keep our benefits or insurance.  Whatever it is, we practice Ujamaa.  Sometimes, other disabled people are our only customers. We do a great job of not being crabs in the bucket.

I invite you, if you are a member of the disabled community, to post your business links in the comments.  Let’s continue to uphold the spirit of Ujamaa.

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