There are no others who can claim slavery as their heritage in one breathe while changing the racist and sexist attitudes and stereotypes in another. The history of my culture is ever evolving, sometimes there is insurrection, Black on Black violence, disrespect and hatred, most times there is collaboration and all the time there is strength fortified with the blood of our ancestors. Slavery is something most Americans either believed in or attempted to abolish, and thank the Goddess, we succeeded!!!(Re:June 1999, Tapestry).  Distancing ourselves from that most filthy episode in America's history is not smart; doing this prevents us from combating it when it is necessary; it is necessary today.

Claiming Africa as my (distant) ancestry is honorable for me, She is The Mother of the world, She gave the world everything from life to science, all is rooted in Mother Africa. And we are Her Daughters...I am elated over this year's Kwanzaa holiday/celebration; it is ideal, remembering the past, building the future, Kwanzaa gives substance to the winter holiday season, it anchors us and we refocus. It causes us to rise above the material and "insincere sincerity",(E.M.Forstrer, Howard's End), and offers us the chance to think.

I was extremely proud of one of my Sparkle/First Steps student's zeal in researching Kwanzaa, she is an intelligent and inquisitive young girl; she was proud of herself, learning more about the short yet grand history of the African-American winter holiday/celebration. In fact, all of the young students express incredible desire to want to learn and achieve more, which inspires me; that is one of the responsibilities of being an African-American woman: to provide solutions, shatter the bad images and improve one's sight on the world.

Time for all to shake off the tinsel, reflect and rearrange. Remember and embrace the seven principles of Kwanzaa, which begins December 26 and lasts until January 1, since 1966:

1. Umoja (Unity)
2. Kujichagulia (Self-Determination)
3. Ujima (Collective work and responsibility)
4. Ujamaa (Co-operative economics)
5. Nia (Purpose)
6. Kuumba (Creativity)
7. Imani (Faith)

Light the candles, remember the past, contribute things of positive, academic importance to the present and take steps to mold the future into a time where less hate, violence and oppression exists. We will be there; we always were.

Gabrielle Lin
26 December 1999

Click Here For Home