Family of four celebrating Kwanzaa at home. Photo courtesy of Creative Content on Demand.

By Daniel Winner | AC JosepH Media Correspondent

ATLANTIC CITY — Habari gani?


The fifth principle of Kwanzaa is “Nia” or “Purpose,” the meaning of which is “to make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.”

Nia is the collective commitment to develop and maintain the culture and history of the African American community. Educator and civil rights activist Mary McLeod Bethune stated that African Americans are heirs and custodians of a cultural legacy.

“We have given something to the world as a race and for this we are proud and fully conscious of our place in the total picture of (humankind’s) development.”

In light of cultural identity, Nia implies that people of African descent have a responsibility to contribute to the progress and advancement of humankind. Kwanzaa reminds us that this duty is shared across generations.

Since time immemorial, our elders have instilled in our parents’ generation the tools needed to preserve our heritage and to improve the world at large with the wisdom that has held our communities together.

Our parents in turn have the responsibility to pass this knowledge down to us. We are the ones whose task it is to realize our purpose, both individually and collectively, so that we may contribute to the long-term benefit of society. But the fact remains that the purpose of “self” and “other” are not exclusive.

Our children and grandchildren, and their children and grandchildren, will be the inheritors of and contributors to a time and place that will remain obscure to us.

What they will have is what the past has provided us, which is a lineage of traditional greatness and an ancient connection to all of humankind. So let us light the second green candle knowing that our purpose is shared.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Daniel Winner has a double major in Religious Studies and Japanese from Penn State University and has traveled internationally to the Far East on several occasions. His insights on Buddhism and Asian culture give a unique view of historical and modern trends. He will be serving as a contributor for Front Runner New Jersey.

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