I'm back!! And it's the first day of Kwanzaa, which means that it's the first part of this new blog series I'm going to try out. There are a few things that you need to know beforehand:
-Kwanzaa doesn't have any religious connections to it. I mean, I guess it could if someone wanted to? But overall, the holiday is about celebrating principles (Nguzo Saba) and family and our connection to Africa as a whole, basically.
-Habari Gani is Swahili for "What is the news?" If someone greets you that way, you're supposed to respond with the Nguzo Saba of the day. Someone told me that people who aren't of African descent just say "Joyus Kwanzaa," but if you know the Nguzo Saba, I don't think it matters.
As for today....
The Nguzo Saba is Umoja, meaning unity!
Yay! When my mom gets home, we'll light the black candle on the kinara (the candle holder), because that always goes first. On the first day, my family usually decorates, even though we should probably do that before. We make bendera (Kwanzaa flags), lay out the muhindi (ears of corn for each child), and mazao (fruits representing productivity, which I eat when no one looks.)
We also sit around and discuss the principal of the day and what it means to us.
This year, when I think of unity, I think of my friends and family and how they have held me up. It seems like years ago that I went to the hospital because I wanted to die, but it was really just this February. My friends encouraged me to go, and basically held my hand after I was released.
The social worker at school encouraged me to go. A girl from our peer support club told me that it wouldn't be that bad, that I would get better. Even while I was there, the other girls sort of helped (despite the fact that no one wanted to be there.)
I think of unity when I think about protestors and Black Lives Matter.
I think of unity when I think of my friends also in publishing, DMing and texting behind the scenes about how crazy we go.
I think of unity when I think of my mother always getting things done, no matter what odds are stacked against her.
To me, unity means people coming together to help someone. And that's hella rad.