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Day 7 of Kwanzaa: Imani means faith; find the common ground

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Call: Habari Gani?! (What's going on?)

More Photos

Response: Imani! [ee-mah-nee]

See my previous article about Kwanzaa for an explanation of the call and response.

Today is the seventh and last day of the Kwanzaa celebration, and it is focused on faith.

In our kinaras, every candle is lit!

According to the Nguzo Saba, as written by Maulana Karenga, faith means:

"to believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle"

Since the Seven Principles of Kwanzaa should be implemented all year long, let’s talk about how to make that happen.

Please keep in mind that Kwanzaa is not affiliated with any particular religion. Even though you may couch your implementation in Christianity or Islam or Wicca or whatever, don't impose your religious views on the Kwanzaa celebration. Religion divides whereas Kwanzaa is a celebration of the collective community.

When we speak of faith as it relates to the principles of the Nguzo Saba, one way we can practice Imani all year 'round is to always, always, always search for common ground. There are so many things that separate people in the black community that the phrase "black community" can almost seem like an oxymoron.

In every situation and circumstance, let us attempt to focus more on what brings us together than what tears us apart.

For example, there are those of us in the black community who take issue with our young men who wear their pants sagging off their rumps. We want to define them by their appearance; a slouchy appearance means a lazy mind. This is not always the case. These young men need our love, support and encouragement. Let us not focus on something as superficial as their clothes, but let us find out what's in their hearts and help them reach their full potential.

Another example: there are those of us in the black community who shake our heads in pity and even disgust at our young women who get pregnant out of wedlock, especially if they do so more than once with different men. Yet and still, these young women also need our love, support and encouragement. Being in a situation where you must raise a child or children alone is much more of a challenge than sagging pants, but we still need to find out what's in these young women's hearts and help them reach their full potential, as well.

Don't confuse love and support with accepting what you would call bad/unsavory/unacceptable behavior. "Loving" and "judging" are mutually exclusive of one another. You can't do them both at the same time. If a stone would break the walls of your glass house, then it's a good idea for you not to throw stones either.

If we are to keep the phrase "black community" from appearing to be an oxymoron, we must find common ground. We must focus on what we all need and put our personal opinions about this or that aside. It doesn't mean we approve of or condone what we believe is improper. It just means we rise above our own personal biases and seek to do what is best for others and the community at large.

Can you think of other ways to implement the principle of Imani? Please leave comments with your ideas.

Happy Kwanzaa and Happy New Year!

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