Umoja (Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
No one really knows why this holiday means so much to me. What is it? Is the question I am asked when I mention it. To me, it’s self-expressive and can be celebrated in a plethora of ways. However, it touches my heart because of my aunt; before I went into foster care it was Christmas there I realized my place in poverty and then Kwanzaa started this and gave me hope for my future and to celebrate being black, queer (LGTBQ), trans, educated, the children, the elderly; feeling no shame but inspired every day and every year to be my best. I promised to keep it close to my heart because one day there would be unity in my life. Unity within my family.
Its principles are where my attributes of integrity, wholeness, creativity; all the good that encompasses a person. Yes, Kwanzaa is meant to celebrate African American Heritage, and I don’t take that away, but it’s more inclusive than one race. I’m Proud of being of African Decent! I’m proud of my kinky and coiled hair. I’m proud of my faith and all the faiths that Africans celebrate. But let us not forget that the African American race is combined of many races, therefore, when one hurts we all hurt; when one is joyful we all celebrate; when one mourns we all mourn. Kwanzaa is collective and created in wholeness striving in our countries communities.
So today is Umoja meaning unity. My family is broken but my life isn’t broken. I have a family that I created. Unity is the design for all humanity the hope of the creator. So today your life might not be all together, and your family too may be broken. You may have hurts and past hurts. You may have just experienced the biggest catastrophe in your life.
Unity is coming. Hold on and keep fighting. This holiday isn’t just for African American people but for people who celebrate this melting pot of a country. The odds are in your favor. 2020 I believe will be a great year full of blessings and joy. With division and strife in our country, I believe that Umoja is coming.
Celebrate Umoja through gratitude, self-reflection, and loving the community of people that surround you. Celebrate Umoja by being yourself, being expressive, being accountable, and the leader of your community. Celebrate Umoja through thankfulness, being affirming and accepting. Umoja is made up of different faiths, different skin tones, different backgrounds, and LOVE! Celebrate Umoja with me!
Unity is coming!