Kwanzaa Day 4 : Ujamaa Candle Lighting

 In Blog

It is now the fourth day of Kwanzaa, and we light the Ujamaa candle, representing Cooperative Economics. As Kayon reminds us in the above video, the idea of Cooperative Economics is not foreign to people of African Ancestry. From working together to buy an entire community’s freedom, to organizations that work to feed entire communities, the spirit of Ujamaa is present in the way our people show up for each other in this world. This work to build and maintain black-owned stores and businesses for communal economic empowerment and prosperity relates to Key 4 of the Seven Keys to Emotional Emancipation:

“Human Development and Learning: Character and choices can limit or build community and our relationships with each other.”


It is important to note that within Black organizations, businesses, and communities, there can be frequent levels of dysfunction, miscommunication, and disorganization. The dysfunction and ill health sometimes present within intra-racial communities speaks to the historical ways in which people in power have attempted to cause internal conflict in order to disrupt the power that comes from a unified people group. The trauma resulting from experiences such as pitting enslaved people of African descent who worked in the fields against enslaved people of African descent who worked in the house still takes root today in the form of colorism and other modes of internalized racism. In order for Cooperative Economics to work, it is imperative that we, as people of African descent, meet each other with grace and compassion, and recognize our own human limitations and shortcomings as we seek to commit ourselves to always finding ways to see our communities improve.

Action Step: 

Today, on the fourth day of Kwanzaa, CHN encourages you to invest in black-owned business, stores, and organizations within your community. Additionally, find time to think about relationships within your family and community that might need reconciliation. What would it look like to take the first step towards reconciling? Continue to embody the spirit of Ubuntu: I am because WE are.

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