Today is the final day of Kwanzaa. This is the first year that I’ve broadly shared it and I feel like I need to clarify a few things.
First off, it’s not a new or trendy thing for me and my family. My Kwanzaa celebrations go way back. Personally, my family has not had the most boring year. My family has grown with a new baby. My husband and I both lost people close to us this year but we also are continuing to celebrate the wonderful times we spent with our family and friends. The circle of friends who comprise my village keeps growing wider and wider. For me, Kwanzaa is really about connecting with family so I feel like it’s a most appropriate tribute to share my family’s legacy with everyone.
The values of Kwanzaa are ones that I really want my son’s to have everyday. I want them to work together and have UNITY or teamwork whatever they choose to do. I want them to speak for themselves and choose their own paths with SELF-DETERMINATION. I want them to have FAITH in God. I want them to live in their PURPOSE. You get it? These are values that make strong people.
My village is a multi-racial one and I can’t celebrate it with cutting off certain members of my village. It is an African American holiday but just as Cinco de Mayo has been appropriated for everyone and St. Patrick’s Day is recognized beyond Irish communities, it’s okay for people of every race to recognize it. It doesn’t make you anything other than aware of the celebrations of your friends, the same way that Christian’s post “Happy Hanukkah to my friends who celebrate” messages. I don’t want my children to be set apart from their friends any more than his friend Charlie’s parents do when they send their son to Japanese school every Saturday. Charlie’s parents and I have both decided to make our cultural appreciation important for our sons.
My celebrating Kwanzaa doesn’t make me any different than I was last week. I have always identified as African American (as opposed to black and I can tell you why if you choose to know) and support Historically Black Colleges and Universities (I can tell you why again if you choose to know) like my alma mater of Spelman College. I’m still the same mommy blogger likes to talk about cool apps for getting my kids to brush their teeth, who went to BeachesMoms and is a mother to two black men. My family still rides the Pink Pig at Macy’s (because it is an Atlanta Christmas tradition!) and because my husband played the African drums at church that day, he happened to wear a dashiki.