Kwanzaa Day One – Unity is the first principle. Umoja means UNITY.
This principle guides us to strive for and work towards maintaining unity in our family, community, nation, and race. Many say, “Unity is one of the greatest struggles the black community faces worldwide.” Not so, we argue!
In many ways, uniting is what black people have been doing since Jesus arrived in the Americas between 1562 and 1567. That’s “The Good Ship Jesus” also known as “Jesus of Lubeck“, the first British slave ship to arrive in the Americas. Estimates suggest anywhere from 300 – 500 black men, women, and children were aboard this hell on water of a ship.
In the face of an uncertain future, that began with violence and an indefinite trauma, blacks were forced to travel from the Motherland to the New World. Those of our people who survived, did so with the help of each other. Unity / Umoja prevailed and helped our ancestors through the voyage. Survival united our people. It is where we find ourselves again today.
On the first day of Kwanzaa, let us tell a new narrative. Don’t let the potential of disunity be the enemy of our history of unity. As a group, we always find a way to unite when it matters most.
Examples of our unity are expressed every day in Black America. Often times we overlook these symbols and signs of black unity.
When you see a black fist raised in the air, you know what that means. More often than not, your black fist will join the others in the air because you believe in Unity and …
In competitions you pray for the black person to win ALL the time regardless of the sport or circumstance. Why, because you have some Umoja in your blood.
You vote Democrat no matter what. However, if you don’t like the Democratic candidate, you don’t vote at all. Some people still think black people didn’t go to the polls in the last election because “We are lazy” . The Truth = Black people who did NOT vote were very intentional in not voting. There was no laziness or accidents. It was an unspoken Unity at its finest.
Umoja is the reason Tyler Perry’s plays and films go straight to #1. As well as many other black films like Friday, Barber Shop, The Best Man, Kings of Comedy and many others just to name some of the modern classics.
Unity is why we “Turn Up” at parties, clubs, and events. We vibe to the same music, do the same dances and hit the same notes to some of our favorite songs.
We just need to do more of that in our communities, business, education, travel, and economics. NO, we don’t all have to like each other. Umoja / Unity speaks to how we think and work together as a group of black people.
Maybe one day, when we call on Jesus this will not be our first thought:
INSTEAD, we will think of this:
and be united in our thoughts of remembrance of those who came before us. They survived Jesus. The worst experience that has ever been imparted on a people in the history of the world. In UNITY, they survived and so will we.
I challenge you brothers and sisters to strive for UNITY and let the image of the black fist in the air guide your work in our neighborhoods and communities throughout the year.
Harambee!!!!! Let’s work together.