If you’re left scratching your head after reading this blog’s title, allow me to translate: That friendly greeting is Kiswahili for “What’s the news?” The response, “Ujima,” is today’s Kwanzaa value.
Kwanzaa is celebrated for seven days during the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Each day is marked by a do-gooding ideal called by its Kiswahili name. Today is day three, Ujima, which means collective work and responsibility. (Saturday and Sunday were Unity and Self-Determination, marked by the “unifying determination” of my family to nab the last bit of Grandma’s famous holiday sweet potatoes!) The idea of Ujima is to take on the problems of our neighbors and work together to solve them. In the spirit of this lovely holiday, we thought it apropos to focus on how to help those who can’t help themselves.
Please be encouraged to take action anytime you see an animal in distress. Volunteer at your local animal shelter to give animals in need a bit of holiday cheer, or call the authorities about that dog in your neighborhood who is chained outside without proper shelter in this unforgiving weather. And of course, always remember to make sure that the animal companions you’re lucky enough to share your home with are given proper care and all the cuddles they can handle!
Another Kwanzaa tradition is to pay respect to someone of African heritage who has contributed something significant to society. Today, I choose the generous Richard Pryor for his unending efforts to stop the abuse of animals. Who do you pick?
Joyous Kwanzaa everyone!
Written by Missy Lane