Kwanzaa 2014


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It is December, which means it will soon be time for the most under-celebrated holiday ever known to man: Kwanzaa! I know what you’re thinking. Who the hell celebrates Kwanzaa? These seven principles comprise Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity), Imani (Faith)

 

Time for Kwanzaa! Hello?

 

Kwanzaa celebration with its founder, Maulana Karenga, and others

Kwanzaa celebration with its founder, Maulana Karenga, and others

Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa is a week-long celebration held in the United States and also celebrated in the Western African Diaspora in other nations of the Americas. The celebration honors African heritage in African-American culture, and is observed from December 26 to January 1, culminating in a feast and gift-giving. Kwanzaa has seven core principles (Nguzo Saba). It was created by Maulana Karenga, and was first celebrated in 1966–67.

 

History and etymology

Maulana Karenga created Kwanzaa in 1965 as the first specifically African-American holiday. According to Karenga, the name Kwanzaa derives from the Swahili phrase matunda ya kwanza, meaning “first fruits of the harvest”. The choice of Swahili, an East African language, reflects its status as a symbol of Pan-Africanism, especially in the 1960s, although most East African nations were not involved in the Atlantic slave trade that brought African people to America.

 

Kwanzaa is a celebration that has its roots in the black nationalist movement of the 1960s, and was established as a means to help African Americans reconnect with their African cultural and historical heritage by uniting in meditation and study of African traditions and Nguzo Saba, the “seven principles of African Heritage” which Karenga said “is a communitarian African philosophy”.

 

During the early years of Kwanzaa, Karenga said that it was meant to be an “oppositional alternative” to Christmas. However, as Kwanzaa gained mainstream adherents, Karenga altered his position so that practicing Christians would not be alienated, then stating in the 1997 Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community, and Culture, “Kwanzaa was not created to give people an alternative to their own religion or religious holiday.”

 

Many African Americans who celebrate Kwanzaa do so in addition to observing Christmas.

 

Principles and symbols

Kwanzaa celebrates what its founder called the seven principles of Kwanzaa, or Nguzo Saba (originally Nguzu Saba—the seven principles of African Heritage), which Karenga said “is a communitarian African philosophy,” consisting of what Karenga called “the best of African thought and practice in constant exchange with the world.” These seven principles comprise *Kawaida, a Swahili term for tradition and reason. Each of the seven days of Kwanzaa is dedicated to one of the following principles, as follows:

 

  • Umoja (Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
  • Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.
  • Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems, and to solve them together.
  • Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics): To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
  • Nia (Purpose): To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
  • Kuumba (Creativity): To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
  • Imani (Faith): To believe with all our hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

 

Kwanzaa symbols include a decorative mat (Mkeka) on which other symbols are placed, corn (Muhindi) and other crops, a candle holder kinara with seven candles (Mishumaa Saba), a communal cup for pouring libation (Kikombe cha Umoja), gifts (Zawadi), a poster of the seven principles, and a black, red, and green flag. The symbols were designed to convey the seven principles.

 

Observance

A woman lighting kinara candles

A woman lighting kinara candles

Families celebrating Kwanzaa decorate their households with objects of art; colorful African cloth such as kente, especially the wearing of kaftans by women; and fresh fruits that represent African idealism. It is customary to include children in Kwanzaa ceremonies and to give respect and gratitude to ancestors. Libations are shared, generally with a common chalice,Kikombe cha Umoja, passed around to all celebrants. Non-African Americans also celebrate Kwanzaa. The holiday greeting is “Joyous Kwanzaa”.

 

A Kwanzaa ceremony may include drumming and musical selections, libations, a reading of the African Pledge and the Principles of Blackness, reflection on the Pan-African colors, a discussion of the African principle of the day or a chapter in African history, a candle-lighting ritual, artistic performance, and, finally, a feast (karamu). The greeting for each day of Kwanzaa is Habari Gani which is Swahili for “What’s the News?”

 

At first, observers of Kwanzaa avoided the mixing of the holiday or its symbols, values, and practice with other holidays, as doing so would violate the principle of kujichagulia (self-determination) and thus violate the integrity of the holiday, which is partially intended as a reclamation of important African values. Today, many African American families celebrate Kwanzaa along with Christmas and New Year’s. Frequently, both Christmas trees and kinaras, the traditional candle holder symbolic of African American roots, share space in Kwanzaa-celebrating households. For people who celebrate both holidays, Kwanzaa is an opportunity to incorporate elements of their particular ethnic heritage into holiday observances and celebrations of Christmas.

 

Cultural exhibitions include the Spirit of Kwanzaa, an annual celebration held at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts featuring interpretive dance, African dance, song and poetry.

 

The holiday has also spread to Canada, and is celebrated by Black Canadians in a similar fashion as in the United States.

 

Popularity

In 2004, BIG Research conducted a marketing survey in the United States for the National Retail Foundation, which found that 1.6% of those surveyed planned to celebrate Kwanzaa. If generalized to the US population as a whole, this would imply that around 4.7 million people planned to celebrate Kwanzaa in that year. In a 2006 speech, Ron Karenga asserted that 28 million people celebrate Kwanzaa. He has always claimed it is celebrated all over the world. Lee D. Baker puts the number at 12 million. The African American Cultural Center claimed 30 million in 2009. In 2011, Keith Mayes said that 2 million people participated in Kwanzaa.

 

According to University of Minnesota Professor Keith Mayes, the author of Kwanzaa: Black Power and the Making of the African-American Holiday Tradition,the popularity within the US has “leveled off” as the black power movement there has declined, and now between half and two million people celebrate Kwanzaa in the US, or between one and five percent of African Americans. Mayes adds that white institutions now celebrate it.

 

The holiday has also spread to Canada, and is celebrated by Black Canadians in a similar fashion as in the United States. According to the Language Portal of Canada, “this fairly new tradition has [also] gained in popularity in France, Great Britain, Jamaica and Brazil”, although this information has not been confirmed with authoritative sources from these countries.

 

In Brazil, in recent years the term Kwanzaa has been applied by a few institutions as a synonym for the festivities of the Black Awareness Day, commemorated on November 20 in honor of Zumbi dos Palmares, having little to do with the celebration as it was originally conceived.

 

In 2009, Maya Angelou narrated the documentary The Black Candle, a film about Kwanzaa.

 

The Black Candle A Kwanzaa Celebration

Published on Feb 10, 2013

The Black Candle is a landmark, vibrant documentary film that uses Kwanzaa as a vehicle to explore and celebrate the African-American experience.

 

 

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2014 Theme: “Practicing the Culture of Kwanzaa: Living The Seven Principles”

 

THE
OFFICIAL KWANZAA
WEBSITE

The Founder’s Welcome
Dr. Maulana Karenga

 

As an African American and Pan-African holiday celebrated by millions throughout the world African community, Kwanzaa brings a cultural message which speaks to the best of what it means to be African and human in the fullest sense. Given the profound significance Kwanzaa has for African Americans and indeed, the world African community, it is imperative that an authoritative source and site be made available to give an accurate and expansive account of its origins, concepts, values, symbols and practice.

 

Moreover, given the continued rapid growth of Kwanzaa and the parallel expanded discussion of it and related issues, an authoritative source which aids in both framing and informing the discussion is likewise of the greatest importance. Therefore, the central interest of this website is to provide information which reveals and reaffirms the integrity, beauty and expansive meaning of the holiday and thus aids in our approaching it with the depth of thought, dignity, and sense of specialness it deserves.

The holiday, then will of necessity, be engaged as an ancient and living cultural tradition which reflects the best of African thought and practice in its reaffirmation of the dignity of the human person in community and culture, the well-being of family and community, the integrity of the environment and our kinship with it, and the rich resource and meaning of a people’s culture. It is within this understanding, then, that the Organization Us, the founding organization of Kwanzaa and the authoritative keeper of the tradition, has established and maintains this website.

 

THE OFFICIAL KWANZAA WEBSITE

 

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A Family Asking For Help: Bring Daddy Home.


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From Just Bliss Blog:

 

Please support this family. Tara used to babysit my niece Michelle Syed’s kids a long time ago in North Reading Boston. Mr. Stephens deserves to be home with his family.

 

Click here to support Bring Dad Home by Tara Colwell

 

Our father’s name is Edward Stephens. He served in the army from June 1967 to December 1969. He was in Vietnam in communications from December of 1967 to December of 1968. He married our mom in 1980 and had five children between the years of 1984 and 1995.

 

He was an active member of the North Reading community. He campaigned for Brad Jones, ran for school committee, was an active parent in every aspect, coached every sport for each child, ran a dunk tank for fourth of July celebration, the list goes on. In 1995 he was told he had unusual white matter brain changes.

 

In 2000 he had a brain aneurysm. In 2004, 2007, and 2013 he suffered strokes. The one in 2007 left him with left side paralysis. He has had many seizures, has 11 stents in his body, suffers from kidney disease, neuropathy, PTSD, and is now confined to a wheelchair thanks to agent orange. His ischemic heart disease has lead the VA to label him one hundred percent disabled.

 

He has spent the last ten months in Wilmington Healthcare Center. He was able to come home six months ago, but cannot due to the fact that there is no handicapped accessibility to our home. Also, interior modifications need to be done. We need our deck to be rebuilt, and an outside chairlift to be installed.

 

We have spent every waking hour going back and forth with the VA  trying to get the funding we need to bring him home and have been denied multiple times. The holidays are coming and we want nothing more than to spend them in our parents home with our father. We are asking for your help because the government has failed to provide for a veteran. With Thanksgiving only a month away, we have no other option but to turn to the community for help in order to get him home in time. We still continue our battle with the government but the most important thing to us and to him is for him to spend the rest of his life in the comfort of his own home surrounded by family.

 

Please help us bring our father of 5, grandfather of 2, loving husband and Vietnam vet home for the holidays. He fought for all of us and now we are fighting for him.

 

WE LOVE YOU DAD!!!

Please Copy & Paste:

GOFUNDME.COM

 

Bring Dad Home

 

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We’ve all needed help at some point in our lives, some have asked for that help while others just sucked it up and went without asking for help. This family needs our help and is asking for that needed help. If possible please visit GOFUNDME and make whatever donation is possible. Thank you in advance.

 

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Staples You Suck: Printed Copy Of Petition To Be Delivered To Staples Corporate Today!


 

By Jueseppi B.

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Printed copy of Petition to be Delivered to Staples Corporate Today!

 

By Sue Whistleblower

 

This is it! The day where all our hard work pays off! A 10 lb box of printed signatures was sent to Staples Corporate Headquarters and is scheduled to be delivered today!

 

If Staples doesn’t respond within a week, I would like to schedule a Call-In to the Office of the President on Monday February 3rd.

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Thanks again for your continued support!
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The following letter was included with the petition signatures:
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Sue Whistleblower
1660 Soldiers Field Road
Brighton, MA 02135
January 18, 2014
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Ron Sargent
Chief Executive Officer
Staples
500 Staples Drive
Framingham, MA 01702
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Dear Ron Sargent:
I am a part-time employee of your company, Staples. I have served Staples faithfully for many years, and have earned your company far more income than you have paid me over that time. On January 4th, 2014, a policy was enacted at your retail stores that limited part-time employees to 25 hours a week. I have worked over 25 hours a week for the entirety of my employment at your company, as have a vast majority of your part-time staff. I inquired about the reason of the policy up the chain of command, and was not given a straight answer at every level.
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It is for this reason, that we the part-time employees of Staples, hereby petition your company for the following actions:
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1. Amend your policy to at least 35 hours a week for part-time employees or abolish said policy.
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2. If there are reasons this cannot be done, Staples is to make an honest and truthful public statement as to why.
You are probably wondering under what authority we as employees have the right to demand such changes from the CEO of a company. As Customer Service Representatives, it is not only our duty to represent the company to the customer, it is also our duty to represent the customer to the company. Enclosed is a printed copy of over 200,000 signatures of people who disagree with your current actions and demand you change your policy. Most of them are your customers and have pledged not to shop at your stores until you take corrective action.
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We know that thousands of other companies have been enacting similar policies for one reason, the Affordable Health Care Act. We also know that the medical insurance you currently offer through Aetna does not meet the minimum standards of the law. The ACA states that any employee working over 30 hours a week is entitled to health insurance, or the company faces steep fines. We understand that paying those fines would be an unacceptable cost to your corporation. However, we encourage Staples to be more open as to why this company is enacting such changes. If complying with the law would cost Staples hundreds of millions of dollars, then speak out!
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If you truly need to enact such policies to avoid hefty fees, and to give you time to research ways to comply with the law that meet the needs of both the company and its employees, then please make this known in a public statement!
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We also hereby inform you that we will use all lawful means to petition your company until we receive an answer, and that this letter will be distributed to all petition signers.
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Sincerely,
Sue Whistleblower
Petition Executor
Enclosed: 201,751 petition signatures from Change.org
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Twas The Night Before Christmas & ALL Through Staples….Employees Get Their Hours Cut To Avoid ObamaCARES.


 

By Jueseppi B.

staples520

 

 

On December 6th of 2013 I wrote this…. “Tis The Holiday Season” At Wal-Mart, a Wal-Mart employees mom’s account of an incident at her son’s Wal-Mart store. Now come a similar store about Staples.

 

The Petition: “Staples: Don’t Cut Part-Time Hours Because of Obamacare!.” 

 

My name is “Sue,” and I work at Staples. I can’t tell you my full name because I’m afraid I’ll lose my job for what I’m about to tell you: Staples recently decided to cut part-time employees’ hours just so they won’t have to provide health care benefits under Obamacare.

 

Staples is taking advantage of a loophole in the health care law that says employers don’t have to provide coverage for employees who work less than 30 hours a week. Staples also told managers to hire more part time workers if they need people to cover the schedule.

 

Cutting employees’ hours just to avoid paying for health care is not right. I can’t afford to make less money than I do now without taking on another job. That’s why I started a petition on Change.org asking Staples to not cut part-time employees’ hours and comply with Obamacare. Will you join me by signing my petition?

 

I’ve worked as an Easy-Tech Representative for 9 years now, selling thousands of computers, protection plans, and services. I typically work 30-35 hours in a week, so when I was told that my hours would be cut, I was heartbroken. I recently got married and we have a baby on the way — 25 hours a week is not enough to make ends meet, let alone start a family.

 

Staples doesn’t want to provide health care to its employees — but there is hope. Other chain employers such as Darden Restaurants (owners of Olive Garden and Red Lobster) reversed similar cuts after intense public pressure. And other corporations like Starbucks have pledged not to reduce part time hours.

 

By signing my petition, you’ll be amplifying the voices of thousands of Staples employees across the country who are afraid to speak out and can’t afford to have their hours cut. Click here to sign my petition demanding Staples follow the law and provide health care instead of cutting part-time employees’ hours.

 

Thank you for your support.

“Sue” Whistleblower

 

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Sue’s Petition:

 

Staples: Don’t Cut Part-Time Hours Because of Obamacare!

 

I am writing this petition as an anonymous person, as I fear my employer will persecute me if they knew my identity. My trust in the company I work for has been shaken, as they have enacted a new policy to reduce our hours, and I believe they are not telling the whole truth as to why.

 

I have worked as an Easy-Tech Representative at Staples, sold countless thousands of computers, protection plans, and services, and have made Staples far more money than they have paid me. I typically work 30-35 hours in a week, and have so for about 9 years now. I enjoy working at Staples, and the staff at my store have come to depend on me. I love my job. I recently got married, and am pregnant with my first child.

 

However, in mid-December, the company announced to the staff at my store: A new policy of limiting ALL part-time workers to 25 hours a week — with NO exceptions — for reasons of “Scheduling Flexibility”.

 

This left me heartbroken, as I knew 25 hours a week wouldn’t let me make ends meet, let alone have enough to start a family!I questioned my co-workers as to why they would make such a drastic change. Even the General Manager couldn’t get a straight answer out of the upper management. So I decided to do a little digging, and with the help of the internet, I came across what appears to be the answer: The Affordable Healthcare Act aka “Obamacare.”

 

I read about how countless other companies were slashing part-time hours to use a loophole in the law: You don’t have to pay for healthcare if your employees don’t work more than 30 hours a week. I also learned that the Aetna medical insurance plan that Staples provided didn’t count, as it didn’t provide enough coverage to meet the minimums.

 

I was stunned. The TRUE reason was obvious: Staples didn’t want to follow the law and provide better heathcare to its employees. Instead, its giving its part-time workers a de facto pay cut and saving money by using a loophole.

 

However, there is hope. Other major employers such as Darden Restaurants (owners of Olive Garden and Red Lobster) rescinded similar cuts after intense pressure. Congress has also delayed the requirement until 2015, giving Congress time to sort things out. Corporations such as Starbucks and H-E-B have pledged NOT to reduce part time hours.

 

Will you join me in asking Staples to join companies like Starbucks and H-E-B to pledge NOT the cut part time employees’ hours? 

 

To:
Ron Sargent, CEO of Staples
Don’t Cut Part-Time Hours Because of Obamacare! Join Starbucks and H-E-B in pledging not to cut hours!

Sincerely,
[Your name]

 

Sign this petition

 

Staples_store

 

 

I received many comments on my Wal-Mart post alerting me that I only posted/reported one side of that story. So here’s a solution to that lie….if you have opposing information or facts to this Staples post or the Wal-Mart post, and when I say facts, thats exactly what I mean, then send that opposite side of the big box story to me, and I’ll post them.

 

Otherwise, miss me with your bull shit.

 

1welovetheobamacrat

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“Tis The Holiday Season” At Wal-Mart


 

By Jueseppi B.

walmart

 

What Walmart did to my son

 

My son Kyle is a single dad who works incredibly hard to support his two children, who are 6 and 2. He doesn’t have a car, so he walks two miles every day to his job at Walmart so he can take care of his kids.

 

But last week, two days before Thanksgiving, Walmart fired Kyle — just for approving a price match on a turkey for an elderly customer. 

 

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Here’s what happened: a customer came in and showed the cashier a lower price for a turkey from a competing retailer. As the customer service manager, my son authorized the cashier to match the competitor’s price. Three days later, Kyle’s manager told him he was fired because the turkey didn’t appear on the customer’s receipt at all, which is ridiculous, because it’s the cashier’s job to ring up customers, not Kyle’s!

 

Let me repeat that:

On Tuesday, November 26th, 2013 — just two days before Thanksgiving — my son, Kyle Jaglal, was fired from a Walmart store in Frankfort, Kentucky for price matching a turkey for an elderly customer who had an advertisement in hand. He broke no rules and adhered to Walmart’s price matching policy.

 

Kyle had been working at Walmart for about six months as a Customer Service Manager (CSM). On the Saturday before Thanksgiving, Kyle approved the price match for the elderly customer who was purchasing a turkey — a popular policy Walmart proudly advertises frequently. But on the following Tuesday, he was called to the back of the store by the manager and questioned about the turkey. As a customer service manager, Kyle’s job was to authorize or decline a price match. He authorized it and it was the cashier who rang up the sale. The manager said the turkey was not on the receipt. As it’s the cashiers job to conduct the sale, it doesn’t make sense that Kyle would be held responsible if she did not put the turkey on the receipt. But that’s exactly what happened. Kyle was immediately terminated just two days before Thanksgiving and told to turn in his badge.

 

Kyle was well-liked by customers and co-workers and passed his customer service test with flying colors. I would hate to think that he was fired because of his race (he’s one of only a handful of people of color who work at this Walmart location) or in retaliation for registering his concerns about a month earlier about bias and unfair treatment from another manager.

 

My son should not have been fired, and I’m not going to stand by while Walmart robs him of his ability to support his kids. Please click here to sign my Change.org petition demanding that Walmart give Kyle his job back.

 

Kyle lives in rural Kentucky, and he doesn’t have a lot of job options. He worked his way up to be a customer service manager at his local Walmart because he really needs that job to support his family. Kyle did not deserve to be fired, and his kids sure didn’t deserve to have their dad lose his job right at the start of the holidays.

 

Walmart has been publicly advertising its price match policy all through the holiday season, so I don’t understand why my son would get fired just for upholding the store’s own policy!

 

Please sign my petition to ask Walmart to give Kyle his job back. He is a single father of two young children and he walked the two miles to work and back every day in rain, snow or sleet and even 20 degree weather. He loved his job and he loved helping the people at Walmart.

 

Please sign my petition to get my son Kyle’s job back.

 

Thank you,

Caroline Wilson
Tampa, FL

 

Tell Walmart to rehire my son, Kyle Jagal, who was fired just because he approved a price match on a turkey for an elderly customer.

 

Walmart: Rehire employee fired for price matching turkey for elderly customer two days before Thanksgiving.

 

nota45

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