September 11, 2017

9/11 Numbers

The initial numbers are indelible: 8:46 a.m. and 9:02 a.m. Time the burning towers stood: 56 minutes and 102 minutes. Time they took to fall: 12 seconds. From there, they ripple out.













  • Total number killed in attacks: 2,819
  • Number of WTC companies that lost people: 60
  • Number of nations whose citizens were killed in attacks: 115
  • Ratio of men to women who died: 3:1
  • Bodies found "intact": 289
  • Body parts found: 19,858
  • Number of families who got no remains: 1,717
  • Number of people who lost a spouse or partner in the attacks: 1,609
  • Estimated number of children who lost a parent: 3,051
  • Days fires continued to burn after the attack: 99

January 1, 2017

Kwanzaa: Imani ('Faith')


Habari Gani? Imani (ee-MAH-nee)!
Day 7. January 1

To believe with all our hearts in our parents, our teachers, our leaders, our people and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

When life seems to bring nothing but a string of defeats and disappointments, we've got to have faith that something good is still in store for us. With this faith, we can forge ahead and continue to put forth our best effort. Without it, we give up and accept what comes our way, good or bad. Our precious dreams begin to seem absurdities.

It is imperative that we see ourselves as worth and deserving of a good life. There may be rejections; it may take us a while; but as long as we stay in the game, there's every chance we'll score. On the sidelines, we can only watch as others do the work and the winning.

Perhaps it is time for us to celebrate this seventh principle of the Nguzo Saba principle, 'Imani'! Perhaps it is time ... as we enter for a new year ... to step out on faith.

On this day, I will spend five minutes to relax and visualize success in achieving one of my goals.

Those are my thoughts about Imani. Please take a moment to join this online Kwanzaa celebration with me. What do you think when Imani comes to mind?

Harambee!
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December 31, 2016

Kwanzaa: Kuumba ('Creativity')


Habari Gani? Kuumba (koo-OOM-bah)!
Day 6.  December 31

Using creativity and imagination to make your communities better than what you inherited.

I don't consider myself to be 'creative' in the normal sense.  I haven't written many poems in my life.  I don't create original artwork of any kind.  I don't create my own songs.   I imagine that I'm not unlike many of you.  I suspect that many of you join me in feeling confined in the roles we play, expected to conform to the expectations of others.

However, God gave each of us 'wings' on which to fly our personal journey.  Caged, we can do little more than flutter those heavenly wings in frustration.  We must sing to give vent to our misery, to express ourselves and to create beauty in our own world.

We all need to find outlets for our stifled selves.  In the act of creating, we enter an almost meditative state where our troubles cease to exist and our spirit heals and fortifies.

Painting, playing an instrument, or writing a poem my readily occur to us as means of creative expression, but so are blogging, gardening, cooking, or quilting -- whatever appeals to our individual natures.

Perhaps it is time for us to celebrate this sixth principle of the Nguzo Saba principle, 'Kuumba'! Perhaps it is time ... as we prepare for a new year ... to allow our creative natures to breathe a little more.  Perhaps it is time for each of us to allow the caged bird inside of ourselves to sing ... to fly.

On this day, I will do something artfully.  I will write a letter, make a pencil sketch, or just rearrange one of my rooms in a different way.

Those are my thoughts about Kuumba. Please take a moment to join this online Kwanzaa celebration with me. What do you think when Kuumba comes to mind?

Harambee!

December 30, 2016

Kwanzaa: Nia ('Purpose')

Habari Gani? Nia!
Day 5, December 30

To make as our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.

Can any hill stand between you and your beloved? No. Especially if it is your purpose or goal to be with that person. Of course, there are hills in life. Heck, sometimes there are mountains. But when life is good, it seems like there are no hills. Why? Because, like a baby driven to walk, we are undeterred by the obstacles between us and our goal.

African Americans have certainly had our share of disappointments and setbacks. But, we have learned that when we are really focused, nothing can hold us back. When we believe that our goal is worth and that we are worthy to achieve it, we are more than halfway there. We need only plant our feet on the road and keep moving forward.

Perhaps it is time for us to celebrate this fifth principle of the Nguzo Saba principle, 'Nia'! Perhaps it is time ... as we prepare for a new year ... to set written goals for all of the areas of our life: family, financial, health and spiritual. If not now, when? We can always do more to set and seek out specific goals in life, because we all benefit when our brothers and sisters succeed.

On this day, I will do at least one thing that will help me accomplish one of my goals.

Those are my thoughts about Nia. Please take a moment to join this online Kwanzaa celebration with me. What do you think when Nia comes to mind?

Harambee!

December 29, 2016

Kwanzaa: Ujamaa ('Cooperative Economics')

Habari Gani? Ujamaa!

To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them.

Cooperative economics can help African Americans take physical control of their own destinies. Did you know that 95% of all earnings in the Black community ends up in the hands of non-Black people? Is it any wonder that when one community has $1.95 and our community has a nickel ... that one community is more respected by local government; has better police relations; has better schools; has better economic outcomes? Perhaps it is time for us to celebrate this fourth principle of the Nguzo Saba principle, 'Ujamaa'!

We can always do more to support our people, because we all benefit when our brothers and sisters succeed. If it means going a block farther to a Black-owned store, let's do it. And if the quality of the merchandise or service disappoints us, let's communicate that to the owner so we give her every chance to rectify the situation and count on us as a permanent customer.

Let's buy books and albums by African Americans, and go to movies by African American directors. Remember the simple saying, "Put your money where your mouth is." Let's show support, and not decry the lack of it.

Those are my thoughts about Ujamaa. Please take a moment to join this online Kwanzaa celebration with me. What do you think when Ujamaa comes to mind?

Harambee!

December 28, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: Wayne Hicks. Senior and Junior.

Kwanzaa: Ujima ('Collective Work and Responsibility')


Habari Gani? Ujima!
Day 3, December 28

To come together to build and maintain our communities.

None of us walks alone. Especially in the Black community. We need to realize that we stand on the shoulders of others. Celebrating the Nguzo Saba principle, 'Ujima', gives us a chance to reflect on those that helped us reach our current platform. We can pay homage to our parents, grandparents, siblings, teachers, mentors, colleagues or others that came into our lives. Nubians in America should also lift up in praise those African Americans that came ... some were lost ... so that we might have the freedoms we enjoy today.

In other words villagers ... let's be proud of our accomplishments. We earned the right to be proud. However, let's also remember that our accomplishments may never have happened without the help of others struggling before us. Now, we must pay it forward. We must reach back, down or across to others to help them on their journey.

Those are my thoughts about Ujima. Please take a moment to join this online Kwanzaa celebration with me. What do you think when the Ujima comes to mind?

Harambee!

December 27, 2016

Kwanzaa: Kujichagulia ('Self-Determination')


Habari Gani? Kujichagulia!
Day 2.  December 27

To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves.

The second principle in the Nguzo Saba calls for us to spend less time worried about what 'THEY' are thinking and more time focused on our own decisions. We can't waste our time trying to live up to the expectations of others. We must value the importance of our own personal goals. How are we living up to our own inner compass of what is right and wrong ... our own values ... our own dreams.

I plan to spend more in 2016 focused on setting and exceeding my own financial, family, physical and spiritual goals. I intend for 2016 to be a year in which I live my dreams. No more sitting back and waiting for others ... it is time for me to take control of my situation fully and completely.


Today, I take the first step.

Harambee!
 
I hope that other villagers are considering what the concept of 'kujichagulia' or self-determination means to them.

Here is an affirmation for today that we can all use -- 'On this day, I will take five minutes and visualize that I have accomplished one of my goals.'