Annual Kwanzaa Message from the Founder – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentry

“Practicing Kwanzaa and the Seven Principles: Ensuring the Well-Being of the World”

Ethical philosopher, author, holder of two doctorates and professor and chairman of the Department of African Studies at California State University, Long Beach, Maulana Karenga was born on July 14, 1941 in Maryland. (File photo)

Heri za Kwanzaa. Happy Kwanzaa to Africans all over the world African Community. We bring and send you Kwanzaa greetings of celebration, solidarity and continued struggle for a common good in the world. And in the words and in the manner of our ancestors, we wish for you all things good, pure and beautiful, all the good that the sky grants, the earth produces and the waters make gush from their depths. Hotep. Ashe. Hei.

This season and celebration of Kwanzaa on its 55e anniversary comes at a time when humanity and the world are in crisis: the Covid-19 pandemic with all its destructive and deadly variants; the erosion of the concept and practice of democracy; failing economies; the continuation of conflicts and war and the resulting massive displacement of populations, famine and increased suffering. And there is continued environmental degradation, climate change, extreme weather events, sea level rise, destruction of species and species habitats, increased pollution, disappearance of arctic ice and the threat of extinction of island nations.

Pan-African festival with ancient agricultural origins, Kwanzaa celebrates the good of the earth and carries with it a commitment to protect, preserve and share this good. And Kwanzaa’s modern origins in the Black Freedom Movement engage him in the achievement of liberation and social justice. So in Kawaida The philosophy, out of which Kwanzaa and the Nguzo Saba were created, environmental justice and social justice are inseparably linked in the moral imperative to achieve and ensure the African and human good and the well-being of the world.

Dr. Wangari Maathai gave his life to the practice of joining the struggle for social justice with the struggle for environmental justice. She also understood that we should not sacrifice the good of human beings for the well-being of the world, nor should we sacrifice the well-being of the world for the good of human beings. What is needed is complementary justice; where righteousness for one is conceived and practiced with and by righteousness for both. She recounts how, in the uncritical acceptance of the views and values ​​of colonialism on earth, “the sacred landscapes have lost their sacredness and have been exploited as people have become unresponsive to destruction, accepting it. like progress ”. Thus, it calls for an expansion of the “democratic space” in which people make decisions in their own interests, rediscover their voices and values, and rebuild their social and natural world in legitimate, effective and mutually beneficial ways.

Long before the concept and appeal of environmentalism emerged, the brilliant scientist and chemurgist, Nana Dr. George Washington Carver, was an environmentalist concerned with both social justice and the well-being of the world. He taught that we should respect ourselves and others, and he asked us to “not look at the rich or despise the poor.” Rather, we must help “the small and the humble” in their struggles to overcome poverty and oppression and lead a decent and dignified life. In addition, he taught us to love nature, listen to his word, and learn his language and lessons for the good of humans and the world. And he asks us not to hoard, monopolize or be greedy for the good of the world, but to be those “who take (their) part of the world and let others have theirs”.

The concept and practice of saving and sustaining the world is inevitably linked to the equitable sharing of the world by humans and what ensures the well-being of the world. And the Nguzo Saba, the Seven Principles, provide us with a clear basis and a way forward for this. And so, we are invited to have right relationships, to act righteously, and to walk gently and humbly on the earth. The principle and practice of Umoja (Unity), teaches an ever expanding sense of self through our sense of oneness with others and the world. With others, we are human beings (watu) with obligations of mutual respect, reciprocal solidarity and cooperation for the common good. And in our relationship to the world, we are beings of the world (walimwengu), deeply rooted in the natural and social world, interdependent, interdependent and inevitably responsible for the health, wholeness and well-being of both. Thus, we understand that the damage done to the world is damage to us and that ecocide is a form of genocide, the end of all.

The principle and practice of Kujichagulia (Self-determination), as Nana Haji Malcolm teaches us, is “to see for yourself, to listen for yourself and to think for yourself”. And this must be done, not in isolation, but in community and in the midst of the struggle for justice, freedom and good in the world. It means not just thinking about the established order that prevails, but thinking deeply about current conditions and the future of the world, and as the ancestors taught: thinking deeply about what is good for people and for the future of the world.

The principle and practice of Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility) urges acceptance of the shared responsibility to work together for the good of the world, the good of freedom, justice, equity, peace, mutual aid and cooperation and building the good world we all want and deserve and leave as a worthy African and human legacy. It is a job and a struggle that requires genuine and sustained moral sensitivity to others, their aspirations for good as well as an ethical commitment to the well-being of the world and the struggle to achieve both.

Respect the principle and practice of Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics) teaches us the essential value of shared work and shared wealth and the right of everyone to a life of dignity and decency. It pushes us to cultivate a kinship in and with the world, to reject the conflicts artificially created between a robust economy and a just relationship with the environment. And it teaches respect for the earth as a shared sacred space and common good, not to be looted, polluted and exhausted by greed and corporate aggression and consumerist consumption without considering the consequences for the world.

By adopting the principle and practice of Nia (Objective), we highlight and encourage the old moral teaching of the Odu ifa that we should do things with joy “for mankind has certainly been divinely chosen to bring good into the world.” And this is the fundamental mission and the meaning of human life. And it reminds us that although we are chosen by history and Heaven to bring good to the world, we must also choose to do so. It means boldly choosing the good of the world and acting on it. It means choosing in thought and in practice love over hate, peace over war, freedom over non-freedom, justice over injustice, sharing over hoarding and liberation of people. oppressions of all kinds, forms and fashions.

The principle and practice of Kuumba (Creativity) invites and exhorts us to work and strive mightily for communities, societies and a world more beautiful and beneficial than those we have inherited. It raises the ancient African ethical imperative of Husia practice serudj ta, that is, to constantly repair, renew and remake the world. We must see this repair, this renewal and this overhaul as both a social and an environmental initiative. Because once again, the issues, the impact and the results are interrelated and interdependent. So, in our dealings with one another, with other humans and the natural world: pick up on what is ruins; repair what is damaged; join what is separate; replenish what is exhausted, strengthen what is weakened; fix what’s wrong; and to strengthen and prosper that which is fragile, precarious and underdeveloped.

Finally, the principle and practice of Imani (Faith) teaches and urges us to believe in our people, in the good for which we seek, strive and strive, and in our ability to reach and share it. And we must believe in the righteousness and victory of our struggle to bring and maintain good in the world. He also exhorts us to believe in the good to come and in the will, the conscience, the capacity and the commitment of our young people to forge it and to share it equitably and with benevolence. For we and them, and what we are doing during this crisis and beyond, are in fact the future unfolding through the transformative power of a just and relentless struggle, “to bring good to the world and leave no get lost, “as our honored ancestors taught. we.

Dr Maulana Karenga, professor and president of African studies, California State University-Long Beach; Executive Director, African American Cultural Center (United States); Creator of Kwanzaa; and author of Kwanzaa: a celebration of family, community and culture and Wrestling Essays: Position and Analysis,;,;

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