Category Archives: Self-Empowerment

Kwanzaa: Imani, Believing in Yourself and Others.

“To believe with all our hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.”

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To wrap up our glorious Kwanzaa celebration and the start of the New Year, Imani reinforces the six other principles that were previously discussed. All of these principles are helpful and go to know, but without the value of Faith, the foundation of change and growth is non-existent. 

Having faith is usually connected with religious purposes but in this case the idea of understanding who you are, along with the people in your community, helps the consistent sense of confidence needed in order to rise up oppression. Not just believing is crucial, but instilling and reinforcing the faith and hope that you have for the community can set the bar higher for better expectations. Having and keeping faith within yourselves and your neighbors will only bring great things for your plans and ideas to uplift Black people and all humankind. 

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AfroMadu challenges you to keep faith alive. No after how rough the situation is, or how tough the road to an idea or plan that will be beneficial to the community, keep your heads up and continue fighting!!! 

Imani: Faith. 

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Kwanzaa: Kuumba: Creativity.

Creativity has always been a big part of our culture, from the songs we sing to our recipes. On this day of Kwanzaa, Kuumba, we praise our creative spirt and encourage all of viewers to create. Creation is expression so feel free to express yourself in any way of your choosing. If you are happy, dance until everyone around you is happy as well. If you are angry paint a picture of your rage, just do not stop creating. People limit creativity to the arts but you can create anything! Are you passionate about children? Create a plan to start an After School Program. Are you a health nut? Create a workout plan for those parents that just cannot seem to find to the time. Also this is a great time to write out your prayers. When you need guidance or just want to say thank you, instead of just saying thank you, write and open letter to your deity, that way nothing will be forgotten and you will be filled with praise.

Creativity never goes out of style. Embrace it, make it apart of you. Once you have began to create your spirit shall forever  live on in your creations, even if  you are the only one who knows their creator. Challenged yourself to reach higher creative plateaus as I have challenged you to begin the creative process.

Kwanzaa: Nia, Your Purpose.

“To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.”

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Day five of Kwanzaa focuses specifically on purpose, rather the reason for your existence. We can look at Nia in two forms, individualistic and collectivistic. To understand your self-purpose first, can help you understand your purpose in the community. Each person plays a vital role in the building and shaping form to the community and not understanding your own purpose can  be detrimental to your future.

To begin, we should all search for our purpose on Earth. Whether it is writing, reading, teaching, leading, caring, etc. This role should continue to be the overarching theme in our everyday lives. Whether it is finding mentors in the field, reading to become a better person, or striving for credentials to make you more knowledgeable, being a better you is ultimately the principle of purpose. Finding your true meaning and working towards it.

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Once your purpose is revealed, it is important to help others find theres. This includes community service, helping the youth, and even helping your peers. Not only are you fulfilling your purpose, but helping others allows them to continue their path of purpose as well. Like a domino effect!

AfroMadu challenges you to find your purpose on the fifth day of Kwanzaa. It is time to sit down and critically asses your life long goals and your purpose in life. What a great day to close up 2013!

Nia: Purpose

Kwanzaa: Ujamaa, The Power of the Dollar.

“To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.”

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During the segregation period, It has been said by many African American scholars that the independence of wealth in the Black community was the best time to keep Black money within Black people. Because many grocery shops and hardware stores were for Whites only, many Black people opened stores that gave African-Americans the same privilege of buying meat and other supplies. During this time, these stores were not only build to help give materialistic items to the community, but it instilled a sense of wholeness in Black people. 

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Since segregation has ended and businesses have integrated, the Black community has lost the Cooperative economics that was once built in the 50’s. Ujamaa, the fourth principle of Kwanzaa is to reflect upon the money that is needed to be kept in the community. 

There are many Black owned businesses and shops that are struggling to continue to maintain revenue and keep their businesses. These businesses not only help keep Black entrepreneurs in competition with the rest of the world, but ultimately allows the Black community to profit from them as well. Not only shops and stores, but websites and online boutiques as well. The idea of making money has been progressed through technology and online money. 

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Today, AfroMadu not only challenges you to continue supporting those Black owned businesses and shops, but to tap into your very own entrepreneurial skills and find something you are good at to profit from. Without the desire to care about the Black community, for example, AfroMadu would not continue to function. We taped into our skills, so should you! 

Ujamaa: Cooperative Economics. 

Kwanzaa: Ujima and the Accountability of the Community.

To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems, and to solve them together.

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The principle that is similar to Umoja, Ujima shows the second step in executing unity effectively. Not only making sure we are together and on the same page, but being responsible and accountable for the entire community. This principle not only shows the means to stick together when the roads are rough, but to walk hand in hand and fight the powers of struggle together. 

Ujima is very important because it shows that the fight for African freedom, in all parts of the world, is necessary all the time. No unjust should be silenced. In order to fight, we must accept the responsibility of serving for our community and fighting the powers that stand in the way.  

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Public service workers, workers in the non profit sector, community organizers and activist are thanked for their plight of  Ujima everyday. Taking their jobs and civic duties to help the people is very much appreciated in taking responsibility for the community. Implementing programs for the youth, decreasing cost for government programs, enforcing assistance, and creating a space to bring the community together is very much the accountability that is needed. 

AfroMadu challenges you to become responsible for your brothers and sisters. Unite because your life depends on it. And when the rough gets tough and the forces are against us? Fight like you can’t fight anymore.

Ujima: Collective Work and Responsibility.  

Kwanzaa: Kujichagulia and the Power Within Thy Self.

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Who knows you more than yourself? Today Kwanzaa recognizes the principle of Kujichagulia and the self defining and naming of the self. 

Self-Determination and definition is very important when dealing with Africans in America. Since slavery, we have been stripped from our language, kinship, and culture. Trying to build the psyche of people that have been mentally  abused for centuries is not an easy task. But the notion that it can happen through self-determination and knowledge-building is amazing. 

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On this day, AfroMadu asks our readers to appreciate the value of the self. Knowing that the challenge and struggles through our lifetimes are to only make us stronger. When we realize how much power is ultimately within ourselves, we then create a space to better ourselves and reach the highest peak of confidence and happiness. Kujichagulia’s purpose is to also shed light on the rich history of adversities in the Black community and how we overcame them. Learning about the strength that our history holds gives us a better understanding of who we are as people. 

Reflect on a better you. Become self-empowered. 

Kujichagulia: Self Determination. 

Kwanzaa: Umoja: U.N.I.T.Y

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December 26th marks the first day of Kwanzaa reflecting on the principle of unity. Unity is such an overrated concept that everyone takes for granted, but are we really all really unified?

This year definitely threw loop holes and fireballs at the Black community. Not saying that any other year hasn’t, but with police brutality, innocent killings, unemployment rising, and a heck of social disparities, the Black community is looking for the light at the end of the tunnel. We have had enough with the inequalities and unfairness in the world….But it has to start from us. The power is with the people. The control is within the self.

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We try to find ways out of this mess by working and studying hard to make a decent living, but we forget this main principle every time. Many of us will move of our neighborhoods and forget where we even came from. The idea of unifying and ensuring that not only that one person can get the help they need, but for the best of all is a value that is needed to instill. To the “successful” people in powerful positions: what are the ideas and tips to helping the rest build their personal capital? To the people with knowledge: How are you helping others acquire the same? To the people who have great skills: What are you doing to help others learn your skill? The power is within the people. Thus, unity is so vital in the Black community.

On this day, lets remember that we will always need help in this world in order to continue growing. You cannot do everything by yourself. Unifying things like your family, the youth, your community can help build the greatest empire.

Umoja: Unity.