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Kwanzaa is an African American and pan-African seven-day cultural festival that is celebrated every December 26 to January 1. Like most festivals, Kwanzaa incorporates music as an essential element of its celebration. The purpose of Kwanzaa is to celebrate African American heritage, family and community.Each of the seven 2-minute segments of The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa focuses on the specific principle of that day/date, and sheds a bit of light on either the principle itself, or some element of the celebration. The goal of these segments is to introduce audiences to the celebration and encourage an understanding of inclusion and diverse perspectives.

The 3rd day of Kwanzaa, Ujima or collective work and responsibility


We devote the third day of Kwanzaa, December 28th, to the principle of Ujima (oo-JEE-mah), which means collective work and responsibility. On this day we light a candle, symbolizing a commitment to active and informed togetherness on matters of common interest. Ujima focuses on the collective responsibility for both our achievements and our setbacks. We commit to building and maintaining our community, taking on each other’s problems, and working to solve them together.

Each night as the Unity cup is raised and we are reminded let’s pull together, participants may consider finding a project that can be worked on together. Perhaps there is a home improvement project that can benefit from teamwork, or children may be encouraged to work together on their chores. We might also look to the community, to check on an elderly neighbor during a winter storm, or volunteer for a local nonprofit organization.

The principle of Ujima (oo-JEE-mah) also goes much deeper, supporting the concept that African is not just an identity, but also a duty. It points to the fact that as long as any African anywhere is oppressed, exploited, or wounded in any way, in his or her humanity, all African people are. The challenge of history and culture then, is through collective work and responsibility, to restore that which was damaged or destroyed, and to raise up and reconstruct.

WXXI celebrates Kwanzaa and the principles that reflect and recommit to the collective achievement of a better life for our families, community and our people.