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What Is Kwanzaa? Day Four: Celebrating Ujamaa
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Happy Ujamaa! The focus for the fourth day of Kwanzaa should be about developing the concept of maintaining our own stores, shops, and businesses and profiting from them as a whole. I do feel that the concepts of Kwanzaa do certainly build upon one another. For example, I certainly don’t feel you can work together collectively without unity, and I do believe that once you have, you should also reap the harvest together!

As a whole, I believe that the principle of Ujamaa relies heavily on an education in finances. I am not talking about a business degree or even extensive home library. Nowadays, you can learn a lot from different online resources or a trip to the library. However, I wonder if there are other African Americans out there like me who are embarrassed to say how little they actually do know about finances and business. I have had more than my share of tax problems, garnishments, and just overall financial woes. It’s pretty hard to admit, too. I’m an educated professional! I certainly should not be having problems like these!

However, I get the sneaking suspicion that I am certainly not alone in this department. I have a pretty unique way of first approaching the concept of creating and maintaining our own businesses: we must first educate ourselves, and then freely educate others in terms of finances, sound business concepts and models, and budgeting. I feel that we should do this freely, without reservation and without cost. I think that for each of us that feels that we are struggling to understand finances, there is at least one more who knows and understands finances and could impart that wisdom in such a way that all African Americans could benefit. I think sometimes we as a race get caught up in the smoke and mirrors of capitalism and want to attach a dollar to simply everything. I deeply feel that were we to give feely of ourselves, the rewards would surely return to us tenfold.

Yet again, I am sure there are African Americans out there that are already treading upon this path. My husband and I used to watch a show about finances by Michelle Singletary years ago and that cost us no more than the monthly cable bill that we paid for all other programs. I would venture to say that with the abundance of information found on You Tube and eHow, certainly, there must be African Americans there who are also ready and willing to education. So then, the onus falls upon those of us who desperately need this education to take advantage of it.

I wonder why Dr. Maulena Karenga (the inventor of Kwanzaa) did not focus more on the concepts of wisdom, intelligence, education, and pure knowledge. I think this is probably the only missing component in any of the principles, yet one that could bind them all together seamlessly. With education, I believe African Americans could sustain cooperative economics on the foundation of confidence. We would be much better equipped to share and pool our resources and our businesses would be much more effective and have longer lasting effects on our communities and society as a whole.


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