We are now one week into the new year…I like to spend the first seven days of the new year like how I spent the last seven days of the former year…meditating on the principles of Kwaanza. My family has always celebrated Kwaanza….we celebrated Christmas traditionally, but beginning the day after, it’s about Kwaanza!….
“Kwanzaa, the African American holiday celebrated between December 26th and January 1st, has existed since 1966 and was “created” by Dr. Maulana Ron Karenga, a professor – at that time – with California State University. The holiday is now a recognized, widely practiced holiday in African American households throughout the country and in other parts of the world. The holiday filled a void in the African American community by providing us a set of goals to be recognized over the course of the seven day holiday but to be practiced over the course of the year. These goals serve as the foundation for community building and if practiced create the foundation upon which we can build healthy personal relationships among one another and strong communities. It is not a religious holiday but a cultural expression; a recognition of our “Africanness” and a reason to come together in celebration of our past, present and future.” ~Ross Cockfield
I grew up directly across the street from my mother’s only brother….My Uncle and Aunt, Ross and Carolyn Cockfield , introduced me to the African American holiday when I was a child [Auntie wrote a Kwaanza children’s book]….At the time, I didn’t quite understand the dynamic of the principles [honestly, if I wasn’t getting gifts or candy, I wasn’t interested]….It took me until adulthood to understand and seriously consider the necessity of the teachings on the Black community….just in these last recent years did I realize that they’re simple instructions on how to go forward into the upcoming year…this was our way of celebrating a job well done while convening in preparation of more to come….
The Seven Principles are: Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (self–determination), Ujima(collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa (cooperative economics), Nia(purpose), Kuumba (creativity) and Imani (faith)….We choose to focus on the principle that falls on the Saturday following Christmas…this year’s focus will be on Ujamaa (cooperative economics)….
It’s pretty self explanatory…support minority businesses and contribute to community resources…the predecessor to becoming culturally rich…however, an ideology that the black community lacks….
I am aware of the myths when it comes to minority business:
- Poor Quality of Service and/or Goods
- Marked Up Pricing
I can concur….When I made this last move…I hired a minority moving company…I had worked with them before [clearly, I move a lot]….What I like the most about the company is the flat rate minimum….Every time I’ve hired him, he’s had different hands helping…well this last group must’ve been really new…they didn’t secure the drawers on one of my dressers…no mattress covers…and to add sugar to shit, my beautiful granite top desk some how rolled back down the stairs…broken leg, nicked wood, and scored walls along the staircase…I wanted to line these movers up and round house kick their ass!….Of course the owner still wanted to be paid…he charged me the minimum fee…we were over time so it should’ve cost me more, but I have damaged furniture…I didn’t want to pay a damn dime…I did anyway….
He came back a few days later…like promised…to try to fix it but couldn’t [effed it up more]…told me to send him the repair bill….
I paid because the owner and I had previous discussions about being in business for himself…the difficulties he was experiencing finding and keeping good help…I paid because he still had expenses to cover…I paid because he showed integrity…proposed to make it right…Call me what you like…I will hire the company again…probably for a smaller scale or less delicate job….
We should constantly be looking for ways and opportunities that will allow minority businesses to improve and grow…Instead, we hastily look for reasons to not support them…fast track to put them out of business…Cultural economics needs cooperation…Ujamaa….