in and day out we can observe the increased number of
African people killing each other, mentally and physically
abusing each other, stealing from each other, being dishonest
with each other, and the list goes on and on. These
negative incidents occur, in part, because segments of
the African community in the United States are disconnected
from the moral and ethical traditions that have characterized
relationships among African people in the past. It is
critical that we repair ourselves as we build the Reparations
problem with segments of African people in this country
being disconnected from the great contributions of African
people to the civilizations of the world has resulted
in far too many of us believing that the current situation
in which we find ourselves cannot be changed. Many African
people believe that the condition of African people in
is permanent and there is nothing we can do to change
our circumstances. Therefore, this disconnected group
of African people has chosen the easy road. They travel
on the road of cooperating and collaborating with the
forces of white supremacy who continue to demonstrate
they will do any and everything in their power to keep
African people in this country, and the rest of the world
on the bottom. This has resulted in many African people
in America (and the world community), developing
a “bottom mentality.” In other words, many of our people
buy into whatever the white supremacy forces feed us through
the media, (mis)educational institutions, and religious
we are constantly being fed is that we are on the bottom
and we will remain on the bottom. What the white supremacy
forces offer individual African people in America is that, as an individual, you can get
off the bottom if you join us, if you “pull yourself up
by your bootstraps.” Never mind your group, your family
and your cultural ties, “there is nothing that can be
done with those people. Join us and everything will be
alright.” If you join us, “you can obtain a good job,
buy a nice house in a good neighborhood, buy a nice car,
take nice vacations, and some of you, whom we chose, can
even live with us.”
were not always like this as a people. We did not have
a “dog-eat-dog” mentality and this is what we must examine
as we continue to struggle to overthrow the system of
white supremacy and its impact on us as a people.
Creative Force of the universe has endowed us with the
capacity to make great contributions to the world. A simple
inspection of the ancient Nile
Valley civilization of Kemet
(Egypt) should inspire all
African people to respect their history and to hold themselves
in high esteem. Kemet
and the Kemetic people, our
ancestors, were the creators
of math, science, architecture, writing, governance, astronomy, astrology, medicine, art, and so much more. The Kemetic people amassed great wisdom that was
left as instructions written in Medew Netcher (Divine
Speech) or what Europeans call hieroglyphs.
place we can examine this ancient Kemetic wisdom is in
a book titled, Selections
from the Husia: Sacred Wisdom of Ancient Egypt gives
insight into how our ancestors viewed life, death, human
relations, marriage, parenting, use of power, God, family,
and the standards of moral and ethical conduct. Reading
these spiritual texts elicits strong feelings in and for
African people in a most profound and spiritual way. Peruse
these words from The Husia: The Book of Ptah Hotep:
not terrorize people for if you do, God will punish you
anyone lives by such means, God will take bread from his
or her mouth.
one says I shall be rich by such means, [he] she will
eventually have to say my means entrapped me.”
one says I will rob another, he will end up being robbed
himself. The plans of men and women do not always come
to pass, for in the end it is the will of God, which prevails.
Therefore, one should live in peace with others and they
will come and willingly give gifts, which another would
take from them through fear.”
about five thousand years ago, the wisdom of these words
of instruction should cause African people to reflect
on their significance as we struggle to create a greater
good for our race. The wisdom of our ancestors should
give us the inspiration to rededicate ourselves to the
continued struggle for the liberation of African people
a race of people our survival and development is dependent
upon each other. A greater responsibility is placed upon
those of us who proclaim the African Way after the ravaging of African civilizations, African
culture, African minds, and African lands.
I have repeated many times in previous columns, we have
a responsibility and a duty to our brothers and sisters
to build institutions based on African spirituality, ethics,
and morals, and give back that which the Creator has given
us, “All Life, Power, and Health, like the Sun Forever.”
urge all African people to take a meditative moment and
look deeply inside of ourselves as a people. Let us restore
what the ancient Black people of Kemet called Maat:
Divine Order, Harmony, Balance, Truth, Justice, Righteousness,
had, and lived by Maat before the coming of Europeans.
We must return to the ways of Maat so we can survive
the white supremacy genocidal onslaught. We must look
deep into ourselves! And as our respected ancestor Dr.
John Henrik Clarke often said, “If we did it once, we
can do it again!” In view of what is happening in the
world, we must never lose sight of who we are and our
Get Ready For Kwanzaa 2011
the wake of the rising African Centered Movement in America, it is important that every segment of the African Community in America
begin preparing for the Kwanzaa Season. It is estimated
that more than 30 million Africans in America
participate in some sort of Kwanzaa activity or event.
order for this occurrence to continue,
parents, teachers, principles, ministers, business people,
and community activists must begin preparation immediately.
first question, that obviously should be asked in preparation for the 2011 Kwanzaa
Season is: “What is Kwanzaa and why is it so important
for African people in America
1966, the Black Power explosion shook up America. The call for Black
Power was a major shift away from the Civil Rights Movement, during that era.
Civil Rights Movement had successfully dismantled the
system of racial segregation (by law) in the southern
region of the United
States. However, among the masses
of Black people in America, there was a deeper meaning to the idea of freedom, justice and equality that had not been advocated by the Civil Rights
Movement. The call for Black Power by Congressman Adam
Clayton Powell, Jr., Kwame Ture (a.k.a. Stokely Carmichael) and others, gave a new impetus for the Black Liberation Movement in America.
the smoke cleared from the Watts Rebellion in 1965,
an organization emerged in the Los
Angeles, California area, called US. Its leader was
Dr. Maulana Karenga. After intense study of African cultural
traditions, Dr. Karenga and
the US Organization established the only nationally celebrated,
indigenous, non-heroic Black
Holiday in the United States and they called it Kwanzaa.
concept of Kwanzaa was established for Africans in America
and was derived from the African custom of celebrating
the harvest season.
Dr. Karenga’s own words he says, “The origin of Kwanzaa
on the African continent are in the agricultural celebrations
called the ‘first fruits’ celebrations and to a lesser
degree the full or general harvest celebration. It is
from these first fruit celebrations that Kwanzaa gets
its name which comes from the Swahili phrase Matunda
“...Matunda means fruits and ya Kwanza
means first. (The extra “a” at the end of Kwanzaa
has become convention as a result of a particular history).”
is officially celebrated December 26th to January 1st
and each day a value of the Nguzo Saba (seven principles
of blackness) is celebrated. The Nguzo Saba (Seven Principles)
strive for and maintain unity in the family,
community, nation, and race.
define ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves,
instead of being defined, named, created for, and spoken for by others.
Ujima ~ Collective
Work and Responsibility
build and maintain our community together,
to make our sisters and brothers problems our problems,
and to solve them together.
Ujamaa ~ Cooperative
build and maintain our own stores,
shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
Nia ~ Purpose
make as our collective vocation the building and developing
of our community in order to restore our people to their
Kuumba ~ Creativity
do always as much as we can,
in the way we can in order to leave our community more
beautiful and beneficial than when we inherited it.
Imani ~ Faith
believe with all our hearts in our people,
our parents, our teachers, our leaders,
and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.
the assistance of current Malcolm X President Anthony
E. Munroe, the Kwanzaa Celebration Committee,
over the past several years,
has sponsored Kwanzaa Celebrations and activities during
the seven day observance. These celebrations have drawn
thousands of people and added to the growing Kwanzaa Movement
in the Chicago
is a step in helping African people in America
to fulfill the need and desire to be a united people,
with a common set of experiences that lead us toward a
common set of goals and objectives for freedom,
independence and liberation.
Kwanzaa: The Challenges of a New Season
we enter a New Kwanzaa Season, we must remind ourselves of the continued challenges that we face.
The fundamental issue that Africans in America must face is centered
around the continued assault by the systems of racism
and white supremacy that keeps us in bondage,
servitude, and often times, confusion. What is at stake
is our survival as a race of people. We must come to grips
with the following challenges as we enter a New Kwanzaa
Family Development: There is no question that the African in American
family is in major disarray and is in need of major repair.
Without strong African in America
families, raising and nurturing
our children, the future will
remain bleak. Families are the foundation for the
survival and development of a people. African
men and women need to close ranks and reestablish the
tradition of strong Black families in America.
Economic Development: Many Africans in America women and men continue to remind us that
we earn in excess of 600 billion dollars a year in this
country. The tragedy of this economic potential in the
African Community in America is that the overwhelming
majority of this income we earn,
we spend with other people and not with our own. Other
people still continue to dominate and maximize profits
from our communities for their own advancement. When are
we going to stop this awful practice of allowing other
people to benefit from the dollars we earn?
Political Development: We have often said that politics is the science of
who gets what, when, where, and how. And in this regard,
we should recognize that the white power structure and
its Black allies are doing everything possible to rupture
our continuing movement for Black political empowerment.
In electoral politics the lessons are clear. Personality
clashes and individual personal conflicts have no place
in the world of politics! The only thing that matters
is what is best for African people in America. If we don't remain
unified politically, we will
not benefit from our efforts to increase Black political
power in Chicago or in any other cities in which we live.
Cultural Development: Why should other people profit from our artistic
and creative endeavors? It is clear that we are a creative
people with a unique culture of our own. However,
in this area the writers, poets, musicians, dancers, singers, actors, etc. must strive to control what we create and the entire African
Community should aggressively support their efforts.
International Affairs: We must work harder to support the struggle of our
brothers and sisters in Africa,
the Caribbean, and South
America in their continued liberation struggle for land
Historical Discontinuity: It appears the more we are oppressed under the system
of racism and white supremacy,
the more we forget our history. One generation from the
next has difficulty remembering our great struggles,
battles, and movements.
Cruse points out in his book The
Crisis of the Negro Intellectual, “The farther
the Negro [Black person] gets from his [her] historical
antecedents in time, the more
tenuous become his conceptual ties,
the emptier his [her] social conceptions,
the more superficial his visions.”
must be clear, at this point in history that African people need to determine for
ourselves solutions to the many serious problems we face.
We should realize going into this New Kwanzaa Season that
no one will do for us what we really need to do for ourselves.
is time we begin providing for ourselves in all areas
of life. No longer should we listen and adhere to how
other people define us and our struggle. Accomplishing
the objective of elevating our struggle to a higher level
will require that we become more skilled in organizing
our communities toward our liberation and freedom.
an old African proverb points out, “Those who are dead
have not gone forever. They are in the woman’s womb. They
are in the child who whimpers.”
Columnist, Conrad W. Worrill, PhD, is the National Chairman Emeritus
of the National Black United Front (NBUF). Click here
to contact Dr. Worrill.
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