Tuesday Kwanzaa celebrates cooperative economics
Old and young alike gathered at Port Arthur’s Lake View Palms apartments, where the fourth day of Kwanzaa events were celebrated.
The weeklong celebration held in the U.S. and other nations honors African heritage in African-American culture from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1.
First celebrated in 1966, Kwanzaa has seven core principles created by Naulana Karenga.
The annual celebration, sponsored locally by the African American Cultural Society, is observed through Dec. 31, and on Jan. 1 people are urged to spend the first day of the New Year with family.
This year’s theme is “Embracing Kwanzaa’s Principles and Practice: Creating and Celebrating the Good.”
Johnny Hulan, director of the Willie Carter Outreach Center and a member of the African American Cultural Society, introduced those in attendance Tuesday to words from the East African language of Swahili including the principal of the day, “ujamaa,” which means collective work and responsibility.
Hulan, a self-described “keeper of history,” said his own genealogy indicated he came from a people that were kings and queens, princesses and princes.
“I am from a royal family I did not know anything about,” he said.
Kwanzaa, he said, is designed to prompt introspection.
“We just stop at the end of the year and look back and see what have I done good,” he said. “Have I been good at what I am supposed to be doing? That’s what Kwanzaa is all about.”
In keeping with the day’s principal, Hulan said it was important to spend money in one’s community.
“We can uplift our community here by spending money where we live,” he said. “Mamas have you been spending money in your community, or did Papa Wal-Mart get it. There are a lot of black businesses here, and we can do better by spending locally. In return they will spend the money back on you.”
The seven principles of Kwanzaa, or Nguzo Saba are what Karenga called “the best of African thought and practice in constant exchange with the world.
Kwanzaa events continue on Wednesday with the following:
Dec. 30: Nia (Purpose): To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness. Entertainment at 11 a.m., Rock Island Baptist Church, 548 W. 11th St.
Dec. 31: Kuumba (Creativity): To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it. Also observing:
Imani (Faith): To believe with all our hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle. Gail Pellum to speak at 11 a.m. at Rock Island Baptist Church, 548 W. 11th St., 11 a.m.
Jan. 1: Family Day, Happy New Year.
For more information on Kwanzaa observations in Port Arthur, contact Carolyn Thibodeaux, Children’s & Young Adult Librarian, at Port Arthur Public Library: (409) 985-8838 ext. 2237
- Umoja(Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
- Kujichagulia(Self-Determination): To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.
- Ujima(Collective Work and Responsibility): To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems and to solve them together.
- Ujamaa(Cooperative Economics): To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
- Nia(Purpose): To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
- Kuumba(Creativity): To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
- Imani(Faith): To believe with all our hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.
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