This past weekend, I had hoped to do some last-minute Christmas shopping at a new Black-owned pop-up market in Boston called Black Market. Unfortunately, there was an ice storm, so I wasn’t able to make it. But I hope to get over there in the near future.
Whether it’s spending money at Black owned businesses or helping to spread the word about them to others, I believe that it all helps. The Kwanzaa principle Ujamaa means cooperative economics and focuses on supporting businesses that care about our community.
Given the current political climate, we may want to elevate the notion of Ujamaa to another level. By thinking about using our money as a collective and influencing politics.
Using our money as a group to support political candidates who support our community is also cooperative economics. After Doug Jones won the Senate election in Alabama, we learned that it was Black women’s overwhelming support that was the deciding factor. #BlackWomen was trending on Twitter and everyone was thanking Black women. But what’s the next step?
The blog Awesomely Luvvie has compiled a list of 100+ Black women that are running for office around the country in 2018. It’s a work in progress and a group effort. Organized by state, the list has links to information about each candidate, providing a way to donate money directly.
Another factor that may have contributed to the Jones win in Alabama was an infusion of money from BlackPAC. Donations can be made to BlackPAC, so that they “can mobilize and reach voters in key states where the Black vote will be decisive.”
According to their website, “BlackPAC is an independent, Black-led organization that uses the power of year-round political engagement and elections to change our economic, justice, and political systems. We are committed to long-term, sustained engagement with Black voters. We don’t just show up in communities to ask for their votes. We knock on their doors, we engage online, we make the phone calls, and we listen year-round to ideas and concerns of Black voters.”
Black voters are participating in record numbers and swinging the vote towards those who will benefit our community. As a group, our financial support can bring a whole new wave of candidates to the fore — increasing our political power and giving us more seats at the table.
The word "Kwanzaa" comes from the phrase, "matunda ya kwanza" which means "first-fruits." Kwanzaa's extra "a" evolved as a result of a particular history of the Organization Us. It was clone as an expression of African values in order to inspire the creativity of our children. In the early days of Us, there were seven children who each wanted to represent a letter of Kwanzaa. Since kwanza (first) has only six letters, we added an extra "a" to make it seven, thus creating "Kwanzaa." To learn more about Kwanzaa, visit the Official Kwanzaa Website.