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  • Writer's pictureNajah Amatullah

Determined to Give the Correct Information

Kujichagulia - Self Determination - To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves.

This principle is self explanatory. We each decide who we are. Let us also not forget that deciding who we are must be supported by creating that reality around ourselves - we must do and not just decide. 

One of the ways I have named myself is as an intellectual and an educator. In order to embody intellect and education, I must be on the constant search for information and make corrections where they are needed. 

Last year, I did a series of videos about Kwanzaa and one of the critiques was that it stole the idea of Hanukkah and tried to make it Black. Because of the candle lighting and the consecutive days, I could understand how that would be true. Unfortunately, I know very little about Hanukkah. So I started with a Google search and found a website that named eight principles for the eight days of Hanukkah. I posted that link here and asked a question about the principles in an updated TikTok video. But then I searched again, and saw that ONLY that website mentioned eight principles. When I tried to find other sources that mentioned them, I couldn’t find any. All of the creators on TikTok who were educating about Hanukkah only spoke about the eight days that the oil lasted. Deductive reasoning tells me that this one website with different information than the others is likely off base or completely wrong. 

The conclusion then is that Kwanzaa and Hanukkah are dissimilar both in religion (Hanuakkah - religious, Kwanzaa - not religious) and in the symbolism of the days (Hanukkah - eight days correlate to a historical eight days miracle, Kwanzaa - each of seven days symbolizes a principle for the Black community). Therefore, it seems like the main similarity is only in the daily lighting of a candle.

Educating about topics relevant to Black culture is the primary way that I speak for myself. I seek more educators, bloggers, and academics to join conversations and create even richer, deeper content. 

I return to my classroom in a week and I am determined to cross a few items off my list to prepare for the return, and follow up with connections to other poets and artists I met on threads.

What are you determined to do today or this week?

How do you name yourself?

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