There is an increasing sense among those most thoughtful and active among us that the important issues raised and the struggle rightfully waged against the tragedy and catastrophe we call Trump, marginalizes and misses the major issues that define and drive our own righteous and relentless struggle as a people. Also, it seems that too often we find ourselves supporting groups that don’t support us in a similar manner and don’t involve us in the planning and leadership on critical issues of concern to all.
Such problematic practice and behavior leaves us with equally problematic options: passively supporting others without reciprocal support; struggling with reputed allies and coalition partners for rightful representation in planning and leadership and even presence and position on stage—or not participating in initiatives around issues of shared interests and not building necessary alliances and coalitions.
Clearly, non-engagement in the issues that affect our destiny and daily …
If we are to know ourselves rightly, honor our history, radically improve our present and forge a future worthy of the names African and human, then we must reaffirm and renew our moral and social vanguard role, and wage righteous and relentless resistance to evil and injustice everywhere. And put forth in plan and practice a new history and hope for our people and humankind. In the months of February and March, which we of Us have designated as Black History Month I (General Focus) and Black History Month II (Women Focus), our people have set aside time and space to celebrate ourselves “in history” and “as history.” For we are producers and products of this sacred narrative, and the subject and center of this awesome record and struggle, the most ancient of human histories.
In this sacred narrative which we tell and teach as African history, we speak poetry …
Dr. Maulana Karenga
The New Year, as always, no doubt found many of us joining in the larger society ritual of resolution-making which is more an expression of habit and hope than rightful reflection and steadfast resolve. Moreover, it is often essentially personal without proper linkage to the larger issues of community, society and the world. But for us as African people, there is an obligation rooted in our history and reaffirmed in our struggle, to take a more serious approach to this period and time of turning. As the ancestors said, this is the time when the edges of the years meet and this calls for rightful attentiveness to the health and wholeness of our people and the world and to recommitment and continuing struggle to bring, increase, and sustain good in the world.
It is a fundamental Kawaida contention that we must bear the burden and glory of …
As we move into the new year 6257 (2017) with the heavy white hammer of winter storms hanging menacingly over our heads, we must not despair, be dispirited or contemplate defeat. For the ancestors we honor, the history we’ve made, the struggles we’ve waged, and the promising future of freedom and justice we are obligated to achieve will not righteously let us. Indeed, regardless of the awesome effort, focus and sacrifice required, we must not settle for less than who we are, less than what we deserve, or less than what is worthy to leave as a legacy for those who come after us.
Surely, we must remember that we are in no ways new to the various forms and faces of oppression that have afflicted us and humanity and continue to do so. We have known, witnessed and experienced so many kinds of oppression—from conquest, occupation and racial and …
50th Anniversary Founder’s Kwanzaa Statement Kwanzaa, the Nguzo Saba and Our Constant Striving: Repairing, Renewing and Remaking the worldDecember 22, 2016
50th Anniversary Founder’s Kwanzaa Statement
Kwanzaa, the Nguzo Saba and Our Constant Striving:
Repairing, Renewing and Remaking the world
The 50th anniversary of the pan-African holiday, Kwanzaa, of necessity brings added focus and emphasis on its customary call for remembrance, reflection and recommitment. We remember our history and the legacies left and the people who made and left them for us and the world. We reflect on the expansive meaning of being African in the world, on the context and issues of our times, and on our way forward in struggle to forge a future responsive to our needs and interests as well as those of the world. And we recommit ourselves to our highest values, to our most anchoring, elevating and liberating practices, and as ever to the good of our people and the well-being of the world.
At this historical milestone and marker, it is good to remember …
Kwanzaa was conceived as a special time and space for discussing and meditating on the rich and varied ways of being and becoming African in the world. It invites us all to study continuously its origins, principles and practices and it teaches us, in all modesty, never to claim we know all that is to be known about it or that our explanations are only for those who do not know much about its message and meaning. For each year each of us should read and reread the literature, reflect on the views and values of Kwanzaa and share conversations about how it reaffirms our rootedness in African culture and brings us together all over the world in a unique and special way to celebrate ourselves as African people. One focus for such culturally-grounded conversation is on the deep meanings and message embedded in the symbols of Kwanzaa which are …
During this Kwanzaa, as always and as our ancestors centuries before us, we gather together again to celebrate and share the good we’ve gained and garnered; to remember in reverence the sacred names, noble deeds and enormous sacrifices of our ancestors; and to recommit ourselves to our highest values and most exalting visions, and to an ongoing practice that proves their worth and brings into being the good they embody and ensure. And we gather too to reaffirm our rootedness in our own culture, to reinforce the bonds between us as African people and to meditate on the expansive meaning and awesome responsibility of being African in the world.
As Kwanzaa draws to an end and the old year meets and merges with the new, we are, as always, obligated and urged by ancient custom and ongoing current concerns to sit down and seriously engage in righteous reflection on being …
No matter how things go down Tuesday night, we must wake up Wednesday morning still in struggle and reaffirm without unrealistic hope or paralyzing horror, that there is still much to do and it is up to us to do it. For indeed, as we always said, the time is now, there is no other; struggle is the way forward, there is no alternative; and we are the ones, there’s no avoiding it.
Even after the elections, after all the Wednesday morning confessions of things not done, seen, felt or finished, and after all the corrections and correctives for lies told and damages done, and no matter who wins or loses, there will still be a compelling and continuing need to struggle. For an election in itself is not, for us and the masses of disempowered people of the country and the world, a freeway, highway, back road …
There is no written or reliable record on the day of her birth, but we do know the date of her transition, November 26, 1883; and we know too some central themes of the sacred narrative of her second coming-into-being, her rising from the killing ground and human grave of the Holocaust of enslavement, and her towering above and beyond the context and conditions of her time. They had given her the strange name Isabella, as both a sign of ownership and enslavement and as a way of erasing her original identity and alienating her from her language and culture. But when she decided to free herself and become the African woman she was destined and determined to be, she re-named herself and called herself into being again as Sojourner Truth.
It was a name which reflected the new life of social action and service she had decided to …
This is the month of remembering and raising up Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer (1917-1977), honored giant in a generation of great leaders. Let us, then, raise and praise her five sacred names, her life-giving work and her liberating struggle in the tradition of our ancestors. We pour libation for her first in her sacred name of memory keeper. It is she who emphasized our ancestors’ teaching on the morality of remembrance saying: “There are two things we all should care about: never forget where we came from and always praise the bridges that carried us over”. It is a teaching on reciprocal caring, rightful remembering and deserved honoring. And it is about giving rightful attentiveness to the people, culture and history that made us possible and enables us to come into the fullness of ourselves.
Thus, she tells us that in her visit to Africa, she experienced …
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