How to celebrate Umoja on Day 1 of Kwanzaa

theGrio breaks down how to celebrate Day 1 of the Kwanzaa holiday

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Dec. 26 marks the beginning of Kwanzaa, and on this first day, we light the sole Black candle at the center of our kinara in honor of the principle Umoja, meaning Unity.

Pledge: On this day, we pledge to strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.

Performers Rehearse For Kwanzaa Festival
Children applaud behind a traditional “kinara” candelabra as musicians perform African music during a press preview of the “Kwanzaa 2004: We Are Family” festival at the American Museum of Natural History December 22, 2004 in New York City. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Through unity, in the face of insurmountable odds and in the midst of a global pandemic, the Black community and its allies protested, wrote think-pieces and called up their legislators, which brought about the rare conviction of not only Officer Derek Chauvin for the May 25, 2020 murder of George Floyd, but also that of Greg McMichael, Travis McMichael and William Bryan for the February 23, 2020 murder of Ahmaud Arbery.

Although these convictions are only a drop in the bucket of justice, they’re proof that when we come together, change is possible.

Some ways we can practice unity include engaging in heartfelt and sometimes difficult discussions with family, volunteering in the community, or extending kindness to a stranger to show them that they are not alone.

(Adobe Stock photo)

How will you be celebrating Umoja today and in the new year?

Habari gani? Umoja!

Happy Kwanzaa!

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