Time is leaping ahead at breakneck speed. It seems as though it was only yesterday that we were welcoming in the last decade, but here we are entering 2020. The year ahead, and the new decade, promises to be extremely eventful. The world seems upside down, and it is becoming harder and harder to distinguish truth from fiction.
First, we are facing a new year with a president who has been impeached, and at press time we are waiting for the next shoe to drop. He has not yet faced the Senate. Donald J. Trump, our 45th president, is facing at least two articles of impeachment.
Incredibly, there is a segment of the population that insists on supporting him in arguably a cult-like fashion no matter what evidence is brought against him. This includes a number of Senate Republicans.
So, this is how Americans are starting the New Year and the new decade…with a lot of uncertainty and confusion.
This can throw us off if, and only if, we are not centered in ourselves. And herein lies the rub – we must begin to understand that the world unfolds based on how prepared we are and on what plans we have in place.
In other words, when we are born, we are dealt a certain set of genetic, economic, and sociological cards. It is what we do when we shuffle this deck and play them as we go about our daily lives that will determine what happens to us in the upcoming year and new decade.
As we enter 2020, we should develop 2020 vision regarding how to navigate the world. We should finally reach the conclusion that the world is changed one person at a time.
Each one of us has a part to play in how things turn out. If every person would decide to live their best lives, collectively we could go a long way together. Certainly, racism and oppression exist, but they can be dealt with if we use the right tools.
Fortunately, the Black community has a built-in mechanism which can be used as a guideline for creating a successful community while navigating the world. This tool is called the Nguzo Saba, the Seven Principles of Kwanzaa, which is the seven-day period that begins the day after Christmas. Its meaning is derived from the concept of the First Fruits.
The seven principles are as follows: Umoja – Unity; Kujichagulia – Self Determination; Ujima – Collective Work and Responsibility; Ujamaa – Cooperative Economics; Nia – Purpose; Kuumba – Creativity; Imani – Faith. These principles are powerful if consciously and effectively applied.
Kwanzaa begins the day after Christmas and continues through January 1, New Year’s Day. Each day the focus is placed on the principle that dominates the day. For example, on December 26, the principle is Umoja – Unity. On that day, people are supposed to greet each other with the greeting of Habari Gani, the equivalent of saying “What’s happening,” and the response should be Umoja. On the second day, again the greeting is Habari Gani – and the response should be Kujichagulia. This continues through the final day, Imani, which is Faith.
There are artifacts that are connected with the process: there is the Kinara, which is a seven-piece candle holder, with each candle lit on the day that the principle represents. There is also the Mkeka, or the mat, which represents the foundation. The colors red, black and green are utilized liberally. Gifts are also given, but the emphasis is not on materialism. These are just a few of the items connected with the seven-day ritual.
Ultimately, when considering the upcoming year (and decade), it would behoove us as Black Americans to employ the Nguzo Saba in all of our interactions with each other.
The future will be challenging, and our collective success will depend upon how we face these challenges. One of the most important choices that we must make will be that of selecting our next president. This choice will be absolutely crucial, in that our democracy is under attack. If we don’t make the right decisions, we could end up living in a very different kind of America, one where we are all behind the eight ball in a losing game of social pool.
We must work together to keep this from happening! With that said, HAPPY NEW YEAR, and remember to utilize the Nguzo Saba all year long! A Luta Continua!