Habari Gani? Umoja and then some…

Ever since I was a little girl and realized that my parents were (are) Pan-Africanist Hippies, I thought two things.  1. Wow, I love that they gave me such a hard name to pronounce. 2. I grew accustomed to celebrating unconventional holidays for the purpose of being united with “my peoples” in the diaspora.  This often is difficult for people to understand because for one, most holidays are a special time where people come together to celebrate family and unity because EVERYONE has the day off.  As a result of this I have been culturally attached to the celebration of Kwanzaa.  For the next 7 days I plan to blog and reflect on each day of Kwanzaa.  I realized after the blog of my friend, Ms. Charise Stanford, the importance of incorporating a celebration like Kwanzaa into the collective experience of American Culture.  It was in a discussion with this friend about an experience at her workplace that I realized that many lessons that I had taken from the 7 principles of Kwanzaa.

Well the last day of Kwanzaa has passed and I had a great time celebrating with my friends and family.  A moment that really stuck out was something that I realized would only happen in my life (or at least seems like it would only happen in the collective experience that I have as a Northern Californian celebrating Kwanzaa at the East Oakland Youth Development Center).  The song that I always enjoyed hearing in my childhood Kwanzaa time came on.  The Stones of Fire were singing and didnt sound like they used to (in my childhood memory) but they were doing their best to be as good as they used to be.  As the “lead singer” gave a short intro he mentioned that next year he hoped to AutoTune the Kwanzaa Time song.  What? HUh?  I almost fell out of my seat laughing.  (Pause & Blankish Stare) I took time to look around and reflect on all that had changed.

 It always amazes me, as I grow older, how many of those moments that I have that seem like I am floating outside of my body and observing the life of a brighter, older, wiser and more sexy (wink wink) Ogonnaya.  I am sitting there looking around for the people who towered over me in knowledge, spirit and height (of course).  Then I realize that I am not 8, 12, 15 or even 21 years old anymore. 

This all came to me while in Kwanzaa because I realized that we were united as a group on the first day of Kwanzaa Umoja.  The event was hosted by the daughter of a man that had hosted Kwanzaa for all those years that I attended as a child.  Now I was attending as a woman and recognized that many of the kids I was looking for were also adults as well and they are beginning to transition into their new roles. 

Through this experience I slowly floated back into my current consciousness and realized the person that I have become.  If not for the growth and my collective experience on the mean streets of Sonoma County and the peaceful streets of Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, I would not be the person that I am today.  It is in this that I realized I have also assumed a new role in the lives of my friends, family and any other person that I am lucky enough to build with or encounter in the world today.  I too am a Pan Africanist Hippy.  I am a Travelling Womanists.  I am a Woman.  Most of all I am that I am….

Peace B. Still



~ by travelling womanists on January 5, 2011.

4 Responses to “Habari Gani? Umoja and then some…”

  1. This reminds me of my experiences as a woman going to church and seeing my faith with adult eyes…

    • Thanks for the comment Chrissyjoy!! Its so amazing that although we share different spiritual and relgious beliefs we can still share in an experience that is so similar. Cant wait for you to post one of your stories as a travelling womanists!! Dont forget to subscribe to the blog and friend us on facebook!!

  2. Oooooo, how blessed you are to remember all the fond memories of your childhood as well as being able to observe the changes. Reflectionay…love it!

    • Thanks for the postivity Alyson!! Its amazing to reflect on your own childhood or life and recognize the different ways that you have grown either negatively or positively over the years (although we always hope that the growth is positive). This whole process manifest into something else when you have a close relationship with either a son/daughther, godchild or other child that you witness grow up in front of your eyes. I think this was also a way for me to finally understand what people meant when they were so astonished at how “fast I had grown up” Again thanks for the support and we look forward to posting one of your stories since you too are a travelling womanists!!

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