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Day 7: Imani

Day 7: Imani

Habari Gani? Imani!

Hope is the pillar of the world. – African Proverb

Imani, of Faith, is the last of the Nguzo Saba (7 Principles).  The Black community thrives on faith.  Faith isn’t just a hope. It’s a vision of where we WILL be. In the time of slavery, our ancestors held on to the hope that one day they would be free. During the middle of the century, our grandparents and leaders held on to the faith that one day we would all be equal.  Faith is part of the building block of our community because without faith, there is no reason to fight for better, to work for better, to support each other for the better.  Like a load bearing wall, faith holds us up when everything around us seems to crumble.

Like Nia and Kuumba, Imani/Faith is a Green candle because of the hope we have in our future.  Open any newspaper article now and you will see news of issues plaguing our community.  As we have for so many decades, we are faced with a rising number of our young men in prison, or worse, dead whether by each other’s hands or by law enforcement.We tend to think of a Higher Power when we think of having faith.  And while that is important, it is just as necessary to have faith in oneself.  It is by the faith our community had that we can vote, marry, congregate…win elections.

It makes sense that Imani would come last.  We started by joining together in Unity (Umoja) and we end by having faith in ourselves and our community.  It ends with believing in each other.

Imani

Imani/Faith Day

The focus of Imani/Faith Day is on trust and reflection.  Today is a day to really think about what you want for the future and reaffirm your faith in not just the world around you, but in yourself to make it happen.  Here are some activities for Imani Day:

  • Light the last GREEN candle and ask: Habari Gani? Imani!
  • Pour a drink into the Unity Cup in honor of our loved ones who passed on before us.
  • Spend some time in silence and inactivity and reflect on life as it is now and as you want it to be in the near future.  Meditate.
  • If you are celebrating with family and friends, take a moment to talk about how having faith in yourself and others has manifested over the past year.
  • This is the last day of Kwanzaa and so reflecting over the the other 6 principles. How do they relate to each other? How can you use Imani to strengthen them?  How can you incorporate Imani more in the coming year?
  • Celebrate each other and celebrate your ancestors at the final Karamu (feast)!

Harambe! And thank you for celebrating with me and my family.

Heri za Kwanzaa! And Happy New Year!

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

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

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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