Sunday, January 1, 2012

What do I believe in?

I had to go there. There can be no talking about beliefs without it. 

The principle for the seventh and last day of Kwanzaa, which always falls on the first day of the new year, is Imani, or Faith. And before you groan anticipating a rant about how infuriating I find the presumption that all Black peoples are Christian (or at the very least, religious), remember that Kwanzaa is entirely 100% a non-religious holiday. The principle of Imani, rather than calling upon us to be faithful in the religious sense, calls instead for us "to believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle." Today calls for us to do more than keep hope alive; it calls for us to keep fighting the good fight. It calls for the absolution erasure of internalized -isms (racism, sexism, colorism, classism, heteronormativism, etc.) from our communities, a task which may be impossible, but for which we should still strive. Remember what the homeboy Nas said (but take it with a grain of salt because it buys into the myth of American meritocracy): If you believe, you can achieve, so say it like this--I know I can (I know I can) be what I wanna be (be what I wanna be) if I work hard at it (if I work hard at it) I'll be where I wanna be (I'll be where I wanna be). Imani calls for the recognition of our beauty, our worth, and our accomplishments, but at the same time it demands we do not shy away from our shortcomings, that we do not abandon sections of our communities in their times of need.

I believe in myself and the goals I have for myself; the vision I have of my own future is what keeps me motivated. I believe in the power of true friendship. I believe that words are a double-edged sword of hurt and healing. I believe in love. I believe in luck. I believe in strength in numbers, and in the ability of a community (or even a community of communities) to demand and implement change. I believe that we shall overcome. I believe that every child can succeed if given the right tools. And I just love the way "the righteousness and victory of our struggle" rolls off my tongue.

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