Reclaiming Our Way promoting the well-being of African American children & families

27Dec/150

Exemplar of Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): Professor John Henrik Clarke – A Great and Mighty Walk

"The relationship of history to the people is the same as the relationship of a mother to her child." - Professor Clarke

27Dec/150

Kwanzaa 2015 / KUJICHAGULIA – Self-Determination

Kujichagulia - Kwanzaa - Day 2 Dec 27

20May/150

The Lady Lifers: A moving song from women in prison for life

While prisons may be structured in such a way that suggests an attempt to, they cannot take away the humanity of human beings that have been imprisoned.

They cry.

They reflect.

They ask for forgiveness.

They grow, and they change.

They dream of freedom.

They hope for mercy.

They want to see and spend time with their children, and their families.

They don't want to die alone.

Most importantly... they have faces, voices, histories; and they long to tell their stories.

Below is a very powerful 'TED Talk', filmed in November 2014, at Muncy State Prison.

The ten women in this chorus have all been sentenced to life in prison. They share a moving song about their experiences — one that reveals their hopes, regrets and fears. "I'm not an angel," sings one, "but I'm not the devil." Filmed at an independent TEDx event inside Muncy State Prison, it's a rare and poignant look inside the world of people imprisoned with no hope of parole. (Note: The prison's Office of Victim Advocacy has ensured that victims were treated fairly and respectfully around this TEDx event.)

11May/150

Understanding and Nurturing Creativity and Self-Determination – A Monday Morning Meditation

MMM - Logo 6

If only the world was as conversant in the historical context of Black self-determination as they appear to be in the extent and historical context of racial disparities. Unfortunately, this nation, and its host of media institutions, continues to perfect the art of telling stories of Black misery and hardship. It takes the form of new reports on old patterns of racial disparity.

We must be clear, however, that our community's challenges will not be resolved because we understand the extent of persistent racial disparities... as important as it is to always understand the nature and context of our current condition.

Our challenges will be resolved by our insistence that others take us seriously. More importantly, our challenges will be resolved as a result of our insistence on taking ourselves seriously.

This begins by investing just as much time in understanding how we survived the many centuries of white supremacy, racism and outside interference with our community's survival and institution-building, as we invest in understanding our current ranking on one scale or another that others use to measure community well-being. In this regard, Malcolm X's old admonition is worth the reminder... "Of all our studies, history is best qualified to reward our research."

After years of being involved in efforts to eliminate racial disparities in child welfare and related child and family serving systems, I'm convinced that equal or more of our time must be invested in understanding and nurturing the courageous and creative problem-solving capacity within our community. This includes understanding our capacity and efforts today and in years past.

There are plenty of very smart and skilled people within our community - perhaps more today than at any time in our recent history. We have within our community - at this very moment - all of the know how we need to bring about the kinds of conditions we want to see and experience for our children, our families and for the collective African / African American community. We have to be far more thoughtful and deliberate in understanding and pulling these skills, talents and resources together in support of our vision of a healthy and whole community.

I'm certain that some will feel threatened by this. But be reminded that this is only controversial to those who benefit from Black misery and death. All people deserve, and have an inherent responsibility, to promote the health and well-being of the community to which they belong.

On this day, and every day moving forward, I will recommit myself to doing more to promote the health and well-being of our community... to restore the way of health and well-being our ancestors have taught us. My only great desire is to be able to join you in doing the same.

27Dec/140

Kwanzaa 2014 / KUJICHAGULIA – Self-Determination

Kujichagulia - Kwanzaa - Day 2 Dec 27

27Dec/130

Kwanzaa, Day 2 – Kujichagulia / Self-Determination: Remembering the Great Carter G. Woodson

As many of you all know, this is the second day of Kwanzaa, the cultural celebration that seeks to honor the best of what it means to be African, specifically through a ritual process of remembering and reflecting on who we have been, who we are, and who we must still become.  This is done more concretely through our reflection on The Nguzo Saba (the seven core principles), one daily from December 26th through January 1st.

The second principle is Kujichagulia, a Swahili word meaning self-determination.  Within this context, self-determination refers to the responsibility and obligation of African people throughout the diaspora to define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves.

In recognition of Kujichagulia, I'm sharing a short biographical video tribute (approximately 10 min.) to our great ancestor, Dr. Carter G. Woodson.  Woodson's example highlights the importance of African people doing the work to tell our own story - to define ourselves - on our terms and through our own historical and cultural lens.