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The principles of Kwanzaa

As we celebrate the holidays with our families and communities, let’s be mindful of the seven guiding principles (Nguzo Saba) of Kwanzaa, one for each day of the observance Dec. 26 through Jan. 1.

– Day 1: Umoja (oo-MO-jah) — Unity stresses the importance of togetherness for the family and the community, which is reflected in the African saying, “I am We,” or “I am because We are.”

– Day 2: Kujichaulia (koo-gee-cha-goo-LEE-yah) — Self-determination requires that we define our common interests and make decisions that are in the best interest of our families and communities.

– Day 3: Ujima (oo-GEE-mah) — Collective work and responsibility reminds us of our obligation to the past, present and future and that we have a role to play in the community, society and world.

– Day 4: Ujamaa (oo-JAH-mah) — Cooperative economics emphasizes our collective economic strength and encourages us to meet common needs through mutual support.

– Day 5: Nia (NEE-yah) — Purpose encourages us to look within ourselves to set personal goals that are beneficial to our community.

– Day 6: Kuumba (koo-OOM-bah) — Creativity makes use of our creative energies to build and maintain a strong and vibrant community.

– Day 7: Imani (ee-MAH-nee) — Faith focuses on honoring the best of our traditions, draws upon the best in ourselves and helps us strive for a higher level of life for humankind, by affirming our self-worth and confidence in our ability to succeed and triumph in righteous struggle.

The solutions to our problems: Nguzo Saba. From Dec. 26 through Jan. 1 and then every day of the year following. The blueprint to re-imagine our communities is here.


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