Third Day of Kwanzaa
The third principle of Kwanzaa is Ujima: Collective Work and Responsibility. It’s built upon the power of working together.
Once we’re strong within ourselves, it’s time to work together for the good of our community and each other. And oh, how our nation and our world needs more of this value!
Rugged Individualism is an Illusion
In the United States we’ve been indoctrinated with the idea that anyone can pull themselves up by their own bootstraps — all on their own. But anyone who fancies himself to be a “self-made man” is fooling himself.
Why? Because we depend on infrastructure: roads, schools, grocery stores, reliable utilities . . . the list goes on and on. We may be oblivious to how much we depend on them, but one solid natural disaster (or, God forbid, the human-made kind) will quickly demonstrate our error.
And all of those are the result of collective action. They would not be possible without many people working together.
Collective Work is More Enduring
As the very wise and practical Professor Maathai points out in her quote below, “When you do it alone you run the risk that when you are no longer there nobody else will do it.” When more than one person has invested time, energy, and more importantly their heart in a project, it can become an ongoing legacy to future generations.
What legacy in your community are you building by working together with others? How does Ujima express itself in your life?
Many thanks to Jeffrey St. Clair via LinkedIn’s SlideShare, for the nicely designed symbol image and “seven principles” slide. When I updated this post in 2023, I added more words to the original and found some much better quotations than I had in the original 2017 version. The new images are a quote from Michael Jordan courtesy of Gracous Quotes, and one from Wathari Maathai from People Daily on Facebook. I deeply appreciate both.