Kwanzaa 2014

Black lives matter. All lives do. I don't celebrate Christmas. It's not an either or proposition, but I will celebrate Kwanzaa this year as I have for the last 25 years.

Kwanzaa is nearly 50 years old, almost eligible for AARP membership. It's a week long, starts the day after Christmas, Boxing Day, and ends on January 1st, New Year's Day.

Kwanzaa is a "black holiday" but obviously in our multi-racial/multi-ethnic/multi-cultural society, more than just folks of African descent celebrate it.

Kwanzaa translated from the Swahili means "first fruits of the harvest".

The celebration has seven principles -- one for each day: Umoja (unity); Kujichagulia (self-determination); Ujima (collective work and responsibility); Ujamaa (cooperative economics); Nia (purpose); Kuumba (creativity); and Imani (faith).

This year more than ever when "hands up, don't shoot" has become a rallying cry, in honor of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Oscar Grant, Fred Hampton, NYPD officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos and countless nameless folks who have lost their lives through senseless violence, we need to return to the principles of Kwanzaa.

Like Chanukkah, Kwanzaa comes for only one week a year, but we can embody its principles year round.

Habari Gani (What's the News)?

Harambee (Let's pull together)!

Have a joyous Kwanzaa. Happy Holidays.

Peace, love, compassion and blessings.