On the third day of Kwaanzaa, we light this candle representing the principle of Ujima – Collective Work and Responsibility. This reminds us that progress and success are rarely achieved alone. Our fates are intertwined with our communities. True prosperity uplifts everyone.
Ujima asks us to align our efforts to build and rebuild together. It calls on each person to uplift their communities through service and dedication to the common good. None among us are free when some are not – our brothers’ and sisters’ burdens must be shared.
The creativity that lives within each of us is not solely for our own validation and advancement. True mastery recognizes creative gifts as being meant for service – vehicles to transport communities to expanded awareness. Artists, writers and innovators who commit to developing their talents must also commit to applying those talents towards a better way of life for all.
Collective work means infusing our works with messages that heal rifts and forge bonds across divides. It means depicting empowered versions of the historically oppressed and lifting subjugated narratives. It means leveraging profits and platforms to fuel systemic change towards a more just world.
The brilliant sparks of those who create echo into eternity. But we must direct this light not just to shine on ourselves, but to brightly illuminate the collective path we walk together. For when creatives take responsibility for community building and human elevation through their works, creativity transcends beyond just entertaining into the realm of transformation.
Our world grows more indifferent and isolated each day. Acts of unity and human kindness sew crucial stitches to the fraying fabric of society. As we light this candle, consider where your skills and passion connect to the needs around you. Small, consistent investments of self into collective efforts compound over time into progress more lasting and uplifting than any solitary gains.
Food for consideration:
1) When have you felt most connected to a greater cause or purpose?
2) How do you contribute currently (or plan to in the future) to community-building?
3) What groups or programs in your area could use volunteers and support?