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February 12, 2016
Habari gani? (That’s Swahili for “What’s the news?”) Umoja! (“Unity!”) For all those who have taken part in the seven-day celebration of Kwanzaa over the last 46 years, the news of the day from December 26 through January 1 is the Kwanzaa principle of the day. The word “Kwanzaa” itself comes from the Swahili phrase for “first fruits,” making reference to age-old African harvest festivals.
Today, on the 26th day of December, our family will reflect on umoja by reaching out, sharing, and offering our support to family and community. My ten-year-old son has decided to place his old books out on our stoop in Brooklyn, next to a sign he’s made that reads “Free, Please Take!” He shared with me that he sees giving away his books to other children who want to read but may not have access to books as helping to keep the community together.
We will continue to reflect and act on more of the Seven Principles (Nguzo Saba) as we continue through the seven-day celebration and throughout the new year.
The Principles of Kwanzaa
umoja (oo-MOH-ja): unity
kujichagulia (koo-jee-cha-goo-LEE-yah): self-determination
ujima (oo-JEE-mah): collective work and responsibility
ujamaa (oo-JAH-ma): cooperative economics
nia (nee-AH): a sense of purpose
kuumba (koo-OOM-bah): creativity
imani (ee-MAH-nee): faith
Read more on the celebration of Kwanzaa in this month’s Book Clubs:
A Kwanza Miracle by Sharon Shavers Gayle, available in Lucky.
The Sound of Kwanza by Dimitrea Tokunbo, available in SeeSaw.
K Is for Kwanza by Juwanda G. Ford, available in Honeybee.
Regina Spivey is a Book Clubs Project Manager. She is also her son’s number one fan. When her son is not writing and illustrating comic books of his own, the two of them love to spend time taking turns reading Calvin and Hobbes to each other and laughing it up!
December 26, 2012