Wednesday, January 22, 2020
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Kawaida
Resolving to be African in the World: Remembrance, Meditation and Recommitment
January 3, 2020
It is a fundamental Kawaida contention that we must bear the burden and glory of our history with strength, dignity and determination. Surely, the times ahead of us will demand of us the resourcefulness, resilience and righteous resistance by which we understand and assert ourselves in history and as history, embodied and unfolding. This means, in the language of everyday people, there can be no half-steppin’, no nick namin’ the truth, no spittin’ in the wind to see which way to go. On the contrary, we must be the storm riders and river turners Howard Thurman and Gwen Brooks calls on us to be. And like Harriet Tubman, we must reject individual escape, turn around towards our people, confront our oppressor and oppression and dare continue the difficult and demanding work and struggle to achieve freedom, justice, peace and other goods in and for the world. ... read more »
Righteous Reflection On Being African: A Kwanzaa Meditation
December 12, 2019
Kwanzaa is a time of celebration, remembrance, reflection and recommitment. It requires these practices throughout the holiday. But the last day of Kwanzaa is dedicated to deep reflection, meditation on the meaning and measure of being African and how this is understood and asserted for good in the world in essential, uplifting and transformative ways. ... read more »
Symbols and Insights of Kwanzaa: Deep Meanings and Expansive Message
December 5, 2019
Kwanzaa was conceived as a special time and space for celebrating, discussing and meditating on the rich and varied ways of being and becoming African in the world. It invites us all to study continuously its origins, principles and practices and it teaches us, in all modesty, never to claim we know all that is to be known about it or that our explanations are only for those who do not know much about its message and meaning. For each year each of us should read and reread the literature, reflect on the views and values of Kwanzaa and share conversations about how it reaffirms our rootedness in African culture and brings us together all over the world in a unique and special way to celebrate ourselves as African people. One focus for such culturally-grounded conversation is on the deep meanings and message embedded in the symbols of Kwanzaa which are rooted in Kawaida philosophy out of which Kwanzaa and the Nguzo Saba were created. Indeed, each symbol is a source and point of departure for a serious conversation on African views and values and the practices that are rooted in and reflect them. ... read more »
Trump’s America By Dawn’s Early Light: Notes on Lynching, Lying and Seeking Justice
October 31, 2019
Pushing back the thick fog and fumes of the putrid propaganda of White supremacist triumphalism, what can we really see and sing by the dawn’s early light except Trump’s deformed and deficient conception of America unmasked? For all the hype, hustle and hypocrisy around “making America great again," it presupposes an imaginary past void of its victims and of the violence, genocide, enslavement, segregation and other forms of decimation and oppression they suffered. And such a deficient and dishonest vision also fails to confront the contradictions obvious and oppressive in the lived conditions of current daily life in America. For surely there is no greatness in greed and no virtue or bravery in creating and indicting victims; no freedom, justice or honor in oppression, imperial aggression and betrayal of allies; and no pride to be praised in corporate plunder and predation against vulnerable others and the earth. ... read more »
Us, Culture and Struggle: Ultimately Engaged and Achieved on the Ground
September 19, 2019
This is a sankofa retrieval of thoughts on an anniversary past that still reveals positions and principles as relevant and real as rain in monsoon season. And it is reflective of the deep and enduring commitment we of Us have to the priority of our people, opposition to our oppressor and oppression, and to a communitarian African way of life and thus to the unfinished and ongoing liberation struggle we must continue to wage to achieve this. ... read more »
Africa, Our Moral Ideal: Radical Reasoning About Ourselves and Our Culture
September 12, 2019
For it is on their tall shoulders we stand and look back into our past and forward into our future, extracting and applying the instructive lessons of their legacy. And it is in their long and sheltering shadows that we continue the legacy they left in the life-affirming and liberating ways we live our lives, do our work, and wage our struggle for liberation and good in the world. Indeed, as Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune taught us, our obligation is and must be a “ceaseless striving” and struggle for the Good for ourselves, others and the world. ... read more »
Remembering the Watts Revolt: A Shared Condition, Consciousness and Commitment
August 29, 2019
The Anniversary of the 1965 Watts Revolt occurs in the context of a larger history of Black struggle, sacrifices and achievements: the assassination, sacrifice and martyrdom of Min. Malcolm X; the Selma March; the Voting Rights Act; the founding of our organization Us and the African American Cultural Center; and the introduction of the Black value system, the Nguzo Saba, which became the core values of the pan-African holiday Kwanzaa and of Kawaida, a major Movement philosophy of life and struggle. ... read more »
Undiscussed Dimensions of Mass Killings: Transforming A Profoundly Sick Society
August 8, 2019
We don’t have to be familiar with Frantz Fanon to concede that social conditions create, shape and even determine social consciousness. Nor do we have to be conversant with Kawaida philosophy to realize that ideas do not drop from the sky, grow from the ground or float in from the sea. They come from the society in which we live and learn to be and become the persons and peoples we are. Moreover, although there are numerous ideas which exist in society from which we may choose, the ruling ideas of any society are the ideas of those races, ethnicities, classes and elites which rule. And if we find them oppressive and unacceptable, we have the right and responsibility to resist and radically change them. ... read more »
Another Letter and Libation for Limbiko: Nurturing, Living and Linking the Good
May 23, 2019
Homage to you Seba Limbiko Tembo, beloved sister and sacred friend, esteemed and honored teacher of the good, the right and the possible, on this your birthday, May 3, 6259. We pay homage and pour libation to you, Limbiko, saying the Zulu praise poem of royal greeting. For you are royal in your righteous and loving service to our people. And so, we say, “Bayede, Nkosazana, homage to you royal one. Bayede, wena omnyama omuhle, homage to you, you beautiful Black one. Wena waphakati, you of the center – in the center of your people and in the center of our lives and love. Wena wohlanga, you descendent of the original ones, the awesome ancestors that brought us into being. Bayede,Limbiko, righteous and royal one. Olungileyo akaqedwa, the good and righteous one cannot be defeated or undone, even by death.” ... read more »
Malcolm X and the Ethics of Martyrdom: Witness, Service, Struggle and Sacrifice
February 21, 2019
Malcolm tells us in his Autobiography that he felt and hoped that his “life’s account, read objectively. . .might prove to be a testimony of some social value.” And surely, it is a testimony of great social value. Indeed, it is both testimony and testament, righteous witness and a sacred will, awesome evidence and instruction on how we can live our lives, and if need be, give them up with the unwavering commitment and uncompromising courage Malcolm modelled and mirrored for us. Malcolm, honored teacher of the liberating truth, thus taught us how to live and die, and even before his death, he had already given his whole life to his people, his faith and the struggle. It was again one of his defining features which he described as “the one hundred percent dedication I have to whatever I believe in.” ... read more »
Remembering and Re-Reading Woodson: Envisioning an Emancipatory Education
February 14, 2019
Clearly, in this important month and historical moment of celebrating Black History thru reflective remembrance and recommitment to ever-deeper study and emancipatory practice, our minds easily turn to the writings and life work of the father of Black History Month, Dr. Carter G. Woodson (1875–1950). For it is Dr. Woodson who framed and laid the foundation for our celebration of Black History Month, having given his life to writing, teaching and advocating history as an indispensable core of any real, useful and emancipatory education. And it is he who founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (1915), the Journal of Negro History(1916), and Negro History Week (1926). These were later renamed to reflect the constant rethinking needed to meet the challenges and changes of our time: the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, the Journal of African American History and Black History Month, respectively. ... read more »
‘Kawaida and the Current Crisis: A Philosophy of Life, Love and Struggle’
November 8, 2018
Clearly, the foundational and overarching concern and commitment of Kawaida is life—human and other life and all that is related to the respect, preservation, protection, development and flourishing of it. And likewise, it is concerned with and opposed to all that would threaten, diminish, abuse or destroy life. But to talk of human life and make it real is to talk of actual people. For history and current reality have shown that an oppressor can claim respect for life as a universal abstract, but hate, enslave, dispossess, terrorize and murder, singularly and in mass, actual living humans of various kinds and cultures. ... read more »
“Kawaida and the Current Crisis: A Philosophy of Life, Love and Struggle”
November 1, 2018
Clearly, we, as a people, are in the midst of a deep social crisis, one not only in terms of the conditions of our community, but also in the context of this country.  ... read more »
Us at 53: Reaffirming Our Revolutionary Spirit and Radical Imagination
October 4, 2018
And as part of this process, I want to share reflections of this revolutionary spirit and radical imagination found in The Quotable Karenga, which contains critical concepts that served as foundation and framework for our thought and practice of revolutionary cultural nationalism. ... read more »
Choosing to Be African: Struggling and Striving Ever Upward
September 27, 2018
Again, this is in sankofa remembrance for our 53rd anniversary of our organization Us in righteous and relentless resistance. And thus, it is about reaching back, retrieving, reflecting, reconstructing and recommitting ourselves to a radical and righteous reconception and transformation of ourselves, society and ultimately the world as was our founding mission in those turbulent and transformative years of the Sixties. In the 60’s when we first collectively declared that we are an African people, we did not do so simply to reaffirm our historical source of origin and reclaim a history as old as humanity itself. We did it also as an act of self-determination, a reaffirmation of our right as the Nguzo Saba, the Seven Principles, say, “to define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves.” ... read more »
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