Celebrating Kwanzaa! – Ep.13

Modeling Diversity – Ep.12
December 16, 2020
Achieving Excellence! – Ep.14
January 14, 2021

On this week’s episode Melyssa talks about the celebration of Kwanzaa! She highlights the history of the holiday, explains the celebration’s connection to its African roots, and describes its seven principles.

Melyssa Barrett: Welcome to the Jali podcast. I’m your host, Melyssa Barrett. This podcast is for those who are interested in the conversation around diversity inclusion and equity. Each week, I’ll be interviewing a guest who has something special to share, or is actively part of building solutions in this space. Let’s get started.

Happy holidays, everyone. This week, I thought I would highlight Kwanzaa. Kwanzaa is a celebration of family, community, and culture. It’s an African-American cultural holiday celebrated from December 26th through January 1st each year. It’s based on agricultural celebrations of Africa called the First Fruits Celebrations, which were times of harvest and gathering, reverence, commemoration, recommitment, and celebration. Kwanzaa was created in 1966, helping to build the community of African-Americans and celebrate the connection to Africans and Africa throughout the world by reinforcing seven essential values.

The first principle in the Pan-African language of Swahili is Umoja. Umoja is about striving for and maintaining unity in the family, community, nation, and race. The second principle is Kujichagulia, which means self-determination. Kujichagulia is the self-determination to define ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves. The third principle is Ujima, which means collective work and responsibility. Ujima is about building and maintaining our community together. We make our brothers’ or sisters’ problems our own to help solve them together. The fourth principle is Ujamaa, which means co-operative economics. Ujamaa is about building and maintaining our own stores, shops, and other businesses and profiting from them together. 

The fifth principle is Nia, which means purpose. Nia is about building and developing our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness. The sixth principle is Kuumba, which means creativity. Kuumba is about always doing as much as we can, in the way that we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than when we inherited it. The seventh principle is Imani, which means faith. Imani is about believing with all of our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

Celebrate the spirit of Kwanzaa by practicing these seven principles in your life every day. And Happy Kwanzaa from the Jali Podcast! As you celebrate this year, drop me a line or a message and let me know how you celebrate Kwanzaa or how you carry these principles in your life.

Thanks for joining me on the Jali Podcast. Please subscribe so you won’t miss an episode! See you next week.