New Year’s Day: The seventh day of Kwanzaa

We greet this New Year with Kwanzaa’s call for Imani–faith. Faith in ourselves. Faith in a higher purpose. In the eternal, immutable intrinsic worth of each human being, and the ultimate triumph of those who persist in pursing their vision. Ultimately, it’s faith to take that step into an unknown future with strength.

The Kwanzaa journey is a path of renewal, rededication, and forward-looking toward a better tomorrow. May it be so for all of us! But it’s not enough just to believe. We must act, to complete the process.

This square image shares Jeffrey St. Clair’s original rectangular slide on a red, black, and green background. The slide shows a square design in red, green, black, and purple, surrounded by words on a red background. The words say, “The seven Principles: Imani: Faith. To strive for a higher level of life for humankind, by affirming our self-worth and confidence in our ability to success and triumph in righteous struggle.”
Image by, and courtesy of, Jeffrey St. Clair. See Credits below.

The Challenge of a Higher Level

Confidence in success in a righteous struggle is never easy to come by. The uncertainty we face in not knowing what the future brings is deeply unsettling. But the answer to fear is faith. When we have the faith to take that step out of our comfort zone, we make our first essential choice to choose something better.

Black people once again offer guidance and inspiration in this. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. did not see an ultimate success in his struggle for civil rights (and we still haven’t). But his faith continues to guide and inspire us.

This square image has a medium-gray background. In the lower right corner is a black-and-white photo of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wearing a suit and speaking to an audience. Three microphones of different designs stand in front of him. The words on this design say, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase. -Martin Luther King. DevelopGoodHabits.com.”
Image courtesy of “Develop Good Habits.” See Credits below.

Dr. King does not Stand Alone

We white people of a certain philosophical bent tend to give Dr. King a lot of honor — and he deserves it. But he’s far from the only Black leader who can give us lessons in leadership. Every day, in every part of our country, Black leaders stand up for their communities and for justice.

They are all too seldom listened to! But day after day, they have faith to take that step and speak out. Against violence in their neighborhoods. Or they speak up about over-policing. Some work to eradicate food deserts and environmental injustice. Or to build back neglected schools by community action.

This square brown image is dominated by an upward shot aimed toward bare tree branches and the top of an ornate metal gate. Across the middle of the design are the words in white, “Your crown has been bought and paid for. Put it on your head and wear it. -Dr. Maya Angelou.”
Image courtesy of “Oprah Winfrey Network Celebrates.” See Credits below.

Do We have the Faith to Take That Step?

All of us face challenges. Each day we must decide whether we will follow our values or surrender them. In small ways and large, each day we take that step — or we don’t.

What does your heart tell you to stand up for, in this year that’s only just begun? Will you shrink from the challenge? Or will you take inspiration from the principle of Imani, and have the faith to take that step?

IMAGES

Many thanks to Jeffrey St. Clair via LinkedIn’s SlideShare, for the nicely designed symbol image and “seven principles” slide, to Develop Good Habits, via Pinterest, for the Martin Luther King, Jr. quote, and to Oprah, Quote of the Day via Pinterest, for the Maya Angelou quote.