Creative healing

The sixth day of Kwanzaa

This one is especially near to my heart: the principle of Kuumba, creativity! The only way to build a vibrant community is through the creative devotion of the people within it.

Just as the arts can help revive a dying neighborhood, so can the application of creative energy build positive bridges of hope, where before there were only walls of separation. Our whole country desperately needs this kind of creative healing.

What better, more hopeful task can we set ourselves upon than that, this New Year’s Eve?

 

 

 

IMAGES: Many thanks to Jeffrey St. Clair via LinkedIn’s SlideShare, for the nicely designed symbol image and “seven principles” slide, to the Pinterest board of Students at the Center Hub for the Mae C. Jemison quote, and to SororitySugar’s Tumblr (tagged Gamma-Sigma-Sigma) via Pinterest, for the Mitch Albom quote.

Empowerment

The fifth day of Kwanzaa

Here in the United States today, we continue to re-fight battles that should long ago have been won, while a hundred small and large disadvantages assail African-Americans at every encounter, continually.

All Americans stand to gain, if only we can keep working together for the goal of realizing the dream of true equality. It is only when all of us are empowered to reach our full potential that we will truly reach greatness.

IMAGES: Many thanks to Jeffrey St. Clair via LinkedIn’s SlideShare, for the nicely designed symbol image and “seven principles” slide, to Kathryn Drumright Sr’s Pinterest board for the Harriet Tubman quote, and to Goalcast, for the Martin Luther King, Jr. quote.

Investing wisely

Fourth day of Kwanzaa

Part of working together to support our community is working within the community. Support local institutions, locally-owned small businesses, locally-based arts and community initiatives. If we want a strong, vibrant community, we must invest in it!

 

IMAGES: Many thanks to Jeffrey St. Clair via LinkedIn’s SlideShare, for the nicely designed symbol image and “seven principles” slide, to MyThirtyOne via Pinterest, for the “support a dream” quote, and to ThreeOwlPolyLove on Pinterest, for the Mother Teresa quote.

Working together

Third Day of Kwanzaa

Once we’re strong within ourselves, it’s time to work together for the good of our community and each other. Oh, how our nation and our world needs more of this value!

IMAGES: Many thanks to Jeffrey St. Clair via LinkedIn’s SlideShare, for the nicely designed symbol image and “seven principles” slide, and to BrainyQuote, for both the Sam Walton quote and the one from Bob Dylan.

Self-determination

Second Day of Kwanzaa

“To be responsible for ourselves and create our own destiny.” It’s a worthy goal for us all.

IMAGE: Many thanks to Jeffrey St. Clair via LinkedIn’s SlideShare, for the nicely designed symbol image and “seven principles” slide, to “Quotations I like” for the Carl Jung quote, and to QuoteFancy for the Epicurus quote. 

Recovery, Happy first-day-of-Kwanzaa, and don’t forget Boxing Day!

And just like that, it’s over. Except for the digging out . . . and except that for some of us, it’s NOT over.

Happy Kwanzaa!

If you celebrate Kwanzaa, of course, the holiday has only just begun! Today is the day to especially celebrate Umoja, or Unity–something we all could use a good deal more of, in my home country of the United States.

At the basis of unity is shared respect and–yes–love.

And Boxing Day!

Don’t forget today is ALSO Boxing Day in much of the English-speaking world! This year, more than ever, it might be a great moment to consider a large, charitable donation.

IMAGES: Many thanks to Brian Gordon and his Fowl Language cartoons, for today’s grin, to Jeffrey St. Clair via LinkedIn and SlideShare for the beautiful Umoja Unity design, and to the Tumblr of Adam Hernandez AKA “Slim Baby!” (via Pinterest), with thanks to TinEye Reverse Image Search, for the Cornel West quote and image.

For Food Security

Day Five: For Food Security

I feel more conflicted about this one than I have about my previous gratitude topics. Not that food security is not a marvelous blessing–it truly is, in every sense of the word. 

But I’m aware that all around me–in my community, across my nation, and around the world, there are many, many people who do not share this blessing.

To express public gratitude for it, in the knowledge of such widespread lack, almost feels like gloating. That’s not my intention at all. If I could, I’d extend this blessing to everyone in the world, so that no one anywhere has to go to bed hungry, or wonder where their next meal will come from.

Here in the USA, today is Thanksgiving. Everyone in the country is presumed to be eating their fill, then waddling into the next room to zone out in a “food coma” while watching American football games. However, despite the best efforts of community charities, not everyone will be able to do that. Statesman Jacques Diouf put it well:

Everyone alive should be acknowledged to have a basic human right to adequate, nutritious food. That this is ignored, pushed aside as inconvenient, left to the vaguaries of climate change, governmental style or unregulated capitalism, or even actively subverted so hunger can be used as a weapon is inexcusable. Yes, people have been doing it for millennia; it’s a crime against humanity every single time, in my opinion.

How can persons of conscience work to fight food insecurity? Acknowledging that we who can eat well are blessed, we can make charitable donations on both the local (link to find US agencies) and international (this link: UN) level to help fill immediate shortfalls.

But we also must advocate for longer-range goals: 

Creating systemic improvement is a large, difficult goal, fraught with practical difficulties, cultural pitfalls, and unintended results. It also is desperately necessary, as long as people anywhere are hungry.

Creating changes in public opinion is a way to begin. Funding empirical studies by unbiased researchers is a reasonable step forward. Involving all involved parties in design of solutions is a reasonable, respectful necessity that is likeliest to result in the best solutions. Many initiatives have already begun. We all must work together to bring the best ones to fruition.

IMAGES: The “Seven Days of Gratitude” design is my own creation, for well or ill. If for some reason You’d like to use it, please feel free to do so, but I request attribution and a link back to this post. The “Food security definition” quote by Pattie Baker is from Quozio, via Pinterest; her book Food for My Daughters is available from Amazon Smile and other fine booksellers. The Jacques Diouf quote is identified as sourced from Live58, though I couldn’t find it on their site; I did find it on the website for GRIID (the Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy). The quote from Ray Offenheiser of Oxfam America is courtesy of The Huffington Post, via Pinterest. Many thanks to all!