Power and Change
Having grown up in a culture that does not celebrate Kwanzaa, I came to know and respect this holiday tradition only by my exposure in college (which is one of the many reasons I advocate higher learning; the exposure to others that are culturally different is priceless). I fondly remember my years spent at the Cultural Center and being taught the principals of Kwanzaa by people who practiced these deeply powerful ideals on a daily basis.
A good friend founded a company while in college called “Kujichagulia” which stands for Self-Determination. It was my first exposure to such a concept; he embodied Kujichagulia in word and deed. There is much to this second principle of Kwanzaa but for me it means standing my ground and seeking my truth despite the “noise” of the world; it means not waiting for someone to encourage me and blaze a path for me but blazing it for myself; it means self-empowerment and I am all about that!
Power and Change; Holistic Change and Finding Our Power
Now that I am all grown up and married with children of my own (who mistake Hanukkah for Kwanzaa, don’t worry they will get it…eventually) I am lucky to have a spouse that celebrates Kwanzaa with me. We may not light the Kinara as we should but we do celebrate with the traditional feast and handmade gifts as well as the stories of self-empowerment, faith, unity and purpose. The greatest gift we can give to our children is that unshakeable sense that all problems can be solved and that we have the power to solve them; our solutions, power and purpose lie inside of us.
This holiday season I had occasion to be with a great group of people at a party where Kwanzaa was a foreign concept and I expressed my views that Kwanzaa teaches ALL people to look back and honor where they have come but to continue to look forward and practice active empowerment on a daily basis. That message was needed at that time, especially for those who felt that they had given up their power in their personal lives; there was a sense that they were ready for change.
As we bring 2012 to a close and celebrate the final day of Kwanzaa- Imani (Faith). It is a time for self-reflection and assessment which is therapeutically encouraged. This day is a time to look back on our year and see where we have grown and areas where we need to grow. As we say in our office, “Helping Change Happen One Day At A Time.” Hotep and make it a great 2013!