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I Still Say Their Names

I Still Say Their Names

There are times when I just sit and repeat the story of these unarmed black and brown bodies who were killed. I imagine I am telling it to a future generation

It plays out like this: Something happens and the teen says “call the cops!” But they are stopped. Teen comes to me and asks why. I tell Teen that we can’t be sure if the cop will see us as a victim or suspect. Teen insists his friend is a victim (of whatever) and that much is clear.

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Day 6: Kuumba

Day 6: Kuumba

Habari Gani? Kuumba!

To stumble is not to fall, but to go forward faster. – African Proverb

Kuumba is the principle of creativity.  It is more than making art and music, or inventing.  It is about using your creativity to help advance your community.  As is a part of every process, there will be times when we stumble, but that doesn’t mean that we fall.  We stumble, we learn and we correct ourselves next time.  This way we reach our goal much faster than if we didn’t trip every now and then.

The Black community has a history rife with creativity that helped advance not just our own people, but the global community.  The stoplight? Carbon filament in light bulbs? Refrigeration systems in long haul trucks? The home security system? The creative minds in the Black community brought these to us.

Black creativity brought us the pyramids, cell phone technology and the laser-eye treatment and athletic gear.  It even brought us the Motown Sound!


Kuumba/Creativity Day

There is so much we can celebrate about our community.  On this day, focus on how the members of our community have developed ideas in such a way as to improve the schools, communities and our lives in general.  Remember the historical figures such as George Washington Carver, but also acknowledge the contemporary figures such as Dr. Patricia Bath.

Here are some things to do on Kuumba day:

  • Light the next GREEN candle and ask: Habari Gani? Kuumba!
  • Pour a drink in the unity cup in honor of those who passed before us.
  • Use this day as another day to uplift the community by focusing on the different ways Black creativity has improved our lives.
  • As a family, discuss how you have and will work to improve the community, the schools, and the family.  What do you think could be your contribution to the list of ways Black creativity has helped us prosper?
  • This days is about creating, so plan an improvement project for the home, school or local area.  This can be as simple as grabbing some friends and cleaning a park, to planning a small reunion.
  • Enjoy your Karamu (feast) if you’ve prepared one. Try a new recipe if you dare.

Day 5: Nia Means Purpose

Day 5: Nia Means Purpose

Habari Gani? Nia!

Work with purpose. Our purpose is to build-up our community and restore our people to our traditional greatness.  In short, Nia is not just another principle about being uplifting and working together.  But, it’s a principle focused on rehabilitating our community.

These last few years headlines and social media were filled with the names of our young men and women.  Not every headline was negative but, it was clear that our community needs to be redeveloped.  And just like with charity, “purpose” or Nia begins at home.  Yesterday, Kujichagulia Day, we focused on being self-determined and uplifting ourselves and our community.  If we are to rebuild our community, then it makes sense to start with the smallest possible one: the family.

If we work on restoring our families to their original greatness, then we can move on to restoring our communities and eventually our nation.  So, on the fifth night, we light the first green candle.  Green represents the hope we have for the future.  We must honor the past struggles (red) but also look to our future (green).

Bottom line is: We were are great. So why not work together to continue to be great.  Move with a purpose.


Nia/Purpose Day

The focus on Nia day should be rebuilding our community. Therefore, the focus of the night should center on rebuilding, or strengthening the family and the individual.  Don’t just focus on how you can strengthen your household, but how you and your family can serve your community.  Think about ways you can elevate others in your community.  Here are some activities for Nia Day:

  • Light the first GREEN candle and ask: Habari Gani? Nia!
  • Pour a drink in the Unity cup in honor of the loved ones we have lost.
  • Because Nia is about hope for the future, this is a good time to recognize our past to help guide us in the future. For example, what are some lessons your grandmother, or even a community member, taught you? How can you apply that to the present and future to rebuild the community? Remember, it’s not always about building housing and playgrounds, so give it some thought.
  • If you are celebrating with children, have them draw a picture of their family and friends.  Ask them to write down one positive thing about each person.  Make sure they include themselves!
  • Talk about how YOU plan to incorporate Nia principle into your coming year.  If it helps, write it down in a safe place like a journal. Of all the New Year resolutions to make, this may be the easiest, yet most beneficial one!
  • Enjoy the Karamu (Feast)!
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