After the Holidays: Now Live It

This article originally appeared in the Huffington Post on January 2, 2014.

I spent the last days of 2013 reflecting on the principles of Kwanzaa. My celebration of Kwanzaa has changed over the years as our family has changed and grown.

In early years, the focus was on teaching the tradition. Colorful books taught the principles in engaging ways for young and old. Swahili words that were once foreign to us became comforting friends.

To my school-aged children, I was “Kwanzaa mama”: The parent decked out in red, black and green toting candles and jollof rice to school to share with classmates.

In later years, travel schedules conspired against full-out celebrations. Some years I struggled to remember when Kwanzaa was.

This year, I found the opportunity to think deeply about the principles of Kwanzaa again and use them, as intended, to set my course for the New Year.

My zawadi, or gifts for the season, were a series of micro blogs on Twitter, which I share here all together.

Really, it all comes down to remembering our connection to and responsibility for each other and applying our talents to that understanding. Kwanzaa is everyday work.

1. Habari gani? What’s the news? First day of Kwanza. I am thinking about Umoja– unity. How can we pull together and be stronger?

2. Habari gani? Kujichagulia — self-determination: Our voices lead on matters affecting our community, our families, our lives.

3. Habari gani? Ujima: Collective work and responsibility. We build together. We share the concerns and joys of our brothers and sisters.

4. Habari gani? Ujamaa: Cooperative economy. We encourage, support and prioritize entrepreneurship. Freedom depends on economic independence.

5. Habari gani? Nia: A purpose. Each of us is born with a mission. Our task is to discern it and live it. Our efforts move us all forward.

6. Habari gani? Kuumba: Creativity. There is no challenge or obstacle too big for our ingenuity and creative energy. We see, we build, we grow!

7. Habari gani? Imani. Faith in ourselves; our people our leaders and the rightness of our cause. Last day of Kwanzaa. First day living it.

Kwanzaa yenu iwe na heri!

Via: After the Holidays: Now Live It