Kwanzaa Day 2: Kujichagulia Candle Lighting

 In Blog

On this second day of Kwanzaa we light the Kujichagulia candle, also known as Self-Determination. In this video reflection, Dr. David Goode-Cross shares the importance of making life decisions from a place of being grounded in our most authentic selves. Often times, we can feel the need to wear certain masks in certain settings, in order to experience feelings of belongingness and acceptance. However, wearing masks for prolonged periods of time can be costly, for the human mind was not designed in such a way to accommodate sustained periods of dissociation and inauthenticity.


In the celebration of Kwanzaa, the concept of Self-Determination speaks to the importance of people of African Ancestry finding the courage to define, name, create our own realities based on what we know to be true about ourselves and our people.  Key 2 of the Seven Keys to Emotional Emancipation is focused on“Historical Moments and Movements” and speaks to the spirit of  Kujichagulia in that  Key 2 reminds us of that::  “The history of our people started long before the horrors of our captivity and colonization.”


Rhetoric around people of African Ancestry can sometimes center our identities around the institution of chattel slavery, as if that is our origin story, especially in the United States of America. However, that is not our truth, and rather than living out of a false narrative that the entirety of our history as a people has been defined by our ability to overcome enslavement, it is imperative that we reclaim the truth that we come from a people of histories that are full of self-determination and creativity; and it is imperative that we name the — truth that these stories of strength  and beauty existed in the lands of the African continent, long before our ancestors were brought forcibly  to the shores of Jamestown, Virginia.

Action Step: 

Today, on the second day of Kwanzaa, CHN encourages you to take time and reflect on the lies you’ve come to believe about yourself and your ancestors.  Have a conversation (with yourself, or with another person) about what truths you want to live into in this coming year that combat the lies you’ve been told about yourself and our people.

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