Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Third Day of Kwanzaa: Ujima

This means "to build and maintain our community together and make our brother's and sister's problems our problems and solve them together." 

My immediate thought turns towards volunteer work within the community but it's much bigger than that.  The African proverb of the village that is required to raise a child holds true here, too. In the same way that the parents aren't the only ones who grow a child into the fullness of adulthood, we help or hinder each other in a myriad of unseen ways that reverberate through our inner selves constantly.

No man is an island. No one does it on their own.  You may have a great idea but it's going to take a lot of people to help you pull it off. Quiet as its kept, it takes a village to live a life.  It certainly takes a village to have a career. 

How could we possibly have made it through The Middle Passage, over 400 years of slavery, the Antebellum South, Reconstruction, Jim Crow, the homegrown terrorism of the KKK and the overall violence, the degradation, the virulent racism (institutionalized and otherwise), the microaggression, the indignity, the almighty insufferable all-consuming flat-out ignorance of much of the American populace has towards us if we did not have each other?

Remember this, loud and clear: we were not supposed to survive any of this. Millions of us were lost as slave traders crossed the Atlantic Ocean. The work was much too hard for anyone else. We were not supposed to make it.

To read the best explanation for Ujima that I've gotten so far, please click here.

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