Day 2: Kujichagulia – Self Determination – Marcus Garvey

Hey folks! As promised here is Day 2 of the 28 Day Nguzo Saba Devotion Project I mentioned in my post about Kwanzaa Haters finding a loving spirit this year. Enjoy!

Day 2: Kujichagulia

(click here for Day 1)

To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves & speak for ourselves.


Marcus Garvey & UNIA Photo Credit

“Let us with one determination create in our minds today the conditions of the next 50 years.” Marcus Garvey


This quote speaks to the importance of being intentional about creating the change that is so desperately needed in the African community. History teaches us that no one is going to save us from the crisis that plagues our community so it is essential that we have a clear understanding of the principal of Kujichagulia.  All Africans throughout the Diaspora today (especially our more privileged members) must strategize, organize, and mobilize around plans that are designed to build the economic, spiritual, technological, intellectual and social structures that our communities need.

These structures must be replicable so that future generations of Africans can sustain and perpetuate legacies of liberation.

As we make plans for the New Year, let us remember that our actions today will determine the conditions for our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Working to build and sustain institutions and communities that are healthy, safe and prosperous in today’s world will certainly take determination and sacrifice. Let us be encouraged and remember Marcus Garvey and the many ancestors who, under even worse circumstances, had the discipline to continue building for our future. Our children deserve this.


The 28 Day Nguzo Saba Project

Starting on January 26, 2014, a non-profit I helped to co-found,  Sankofa Community Empowerment (“SCE”), revived the Nguzo Saba 28 Day Devotion Project.

For each day of Kwanzaa 2014 SCE sent out one daily devotional that incorporated the Kwanzaa Nguzo Saba principle for that day. These devotionals were based on quotes from our ancestors, elders and African proverbs and will tie in the meaning of that day’s principle.

After Kwanzaa officially ended on January 1, 2015, SCE continued the Nguzo Saba Devotion project for an additional 21 days. Why? Well there are several reasons:

1. In light of the traumas we are currently facing as a community, 7 days is not enough time for us to address what we are dealing with.

2. It is generally believed that it takes 21 days to create/change a habit. We want our community to create new patterns of thinking that allow us to become a self sufficient community that can meet its own needs (like all healthy communities can do).

3. We believe Kwanzaa should be a verb. For a people who are still entrapped by the legacy of slavery and continuing institutional racism, it is imperative that we take every opportunity to be intentional about our healing on an on-going basis.

The 28 Day Nguzo Saba Devotion Project will provide the opportunity to reflect on powerful messages while learning how to apply the Kwanzaa principles to our daily lives.

As an example, on Mondays-when we celebrate the principle of Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)-consider making an effort to only support Black owned businesses and institutions with your dollars. On Fridays-when we celebrate Umoja (Unity)-consider what you can do to create a stronger sense of unity within our community, i.e. be intentional about greeting each other with a smile or mending old wounds with past friends and family.

These and other efforts will increase our ability to make the principles of Kwanzaa and community uplift more relevant throughout the year.
I’m going to be posting one of these devotionals for the next 28 days. I strongly encourage you all to read & share/forward the devotions and meditate on the messages and wisdom provided.

Be well – and Happy Kwanzaa!

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