Feature Story

Kuumba: A Guide for Our Creativity

The concept of Kuumba, creativity, means 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.

The founder of Kwanzaa, Dr. Maulana Karenga, incorporated this term as part of the seven Kwanzaa principles. In evaluating the definition of Kuumba, there are many questions that should be answered before one can begin to become creative, such as: What is the goal of the community? When this question is answered, one can begin to focus on what needs to be done in order to benefit to community.

The majesty of Kemetic creative expression is unmatched by today’s standards but it is the values and concepts upheld by these expressions that set them apart from the meaningless expressions of modern culture.

A community needs cohesion in order to be successful at achieving a common goal. Although African Americans have similar skin color, it should not be assumed that everyone shares the same goal. Within the history of African Americans we can see how those of similar backgrounds share similar experiences, yet formulate different goals. In this regard, even today, different people expect the same community to develop towards their respective goal. One person may have a goal similar to that of Booker T. Washington which was the idea that blacks need to learn trades, accept jobs given to them by the governing class of citizens, and accept racial superiority. Another person may have a goal similar to that of W.E.B. DuBois which was the pursuit of academic excellence and political power for black citizens. Yet another person with a goal similar to Marcus Garvey who was interested in getting everyone of African ancestry together (I’m not sure what they were suppose to do). Still another person with a goal similar to that of Elijah Muhammad who focused on education and the “resurrection” of the black man and woman. And maybe another person with a goal similar to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who advocated integration as a form of racial equality.

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Kem Life

Fallacy of the Future

My childhood was spent in a community where talk of preparing for the future by accumulating material things was non-existent.  When I came to the US, I found opposing priorities to the ones back home.  Back home no one ever discussed going to college or validating ourselves with the accolades and titles handed out by the system.  We lived one day at a time, because we had what we needed for survival.  When I realized how things are done here, I felt deprived because I did not fit in.  School was presented as a possible equalizer but I did not even have an idea of what I would be going to school for.

In colonial society, planning for the future means planning how we will make and spend our money. We even plan our families based on how much money we make. Ironically, our possessions do not come with us when we die but the actions we take to obtain them do.

I remember someone who came from the US to visit my community and was very surprised at how simply we lived. He said he had never seen people living without worrying about money or doing anything that pertained to saving things for the future. Our future was the continuation of our survival by teaching the children what we knew. Nevertheless, I left home because I was searching for something that I thought I had found when I came to America. All of the lessons of my childhood started to fade as I got more and more caught up into catching up to the way things are done here. It wasn’t until I came to the Earth Center that I realized that all my planning for the future (going to college, insurance plans, jobs, and so on), as I came to perceive it, was only a set-up that was making me dependent on this system while distracting me from living in reality or coming to know what I came to Earth for.

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Kem Graduation

The Light of The Ancestors: Kem Integrity through M’TAM

The graduates: Akib Zari'imou (left) and Ikertbanitah Zari'imou (right) presenting their certificates.

These graduates are the remaining initiates of a group which started almost two years ago.  This group, as a whole, fell to the distractions of internal politics and discouragement following the death of The Earth Center founder and director, Master Naba Lamoussa Morodenibig.  It was Master Naba himself who stated, “Many will make the mistake of focusing on the finger of the guide who is pointing to the moon, instead of on the moon itself.” They have proven that they understood, they have persisted on their path.

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Volume 8.4

What Is News? – Guantanamo Illinois

The Eastern bank of the Mississippi River, in Northwestern Illinois, is the setting of an American travesty yet again. Historically a pristine wilderness with the longest stretch of sand dunes in Illinois and home to Americas symbol of freedom, the Bald Eagle, until they nearly went extinct. The Bald Eagle is once again nesting along these banks, but only after a 100 year environmental disaster that lingers on and possibly with some new neighbors.

The bald eagle, which is native to Western Illinois, nearby the Mississippi River, was nearly driven to extinction.

The transfer of inmates from the infamous Guantanamo Bay Military Prison in Cuba to the Thompson Correctional Center in Western Illinois is reported by many sources to be a very real possibility. Politicians like the US Senator from Illinois, Richard Durbin, seem supportive of this transfer. Presumably due the the financial gain involved for those associated with the Illinois prison system. As a politician who has spoken out against the Guantanamo Bay Prison, it is revealing to see Sen. Durbin now support the incarceration of its inmates locally.

Arguably, Sen. Durbin’s position regarding the transfer of inmates from Guantanamo Bay to Thompson Correctional Center is one that is in accordance with a majority of Illinois residents. The major concern, as stated in an NPR news release, is security. There is a request for the Defense Department to conduct a security review on all the inmates to be transferred. As a regular newspaper reader and resident of the Chicagoland area, the security threat is probably one that I have heard before: “With many potential targets (including nuclear sites) close to the Thompson Correctional Center, is it too risky to house “known” terrorists?”. This is a reasonable argument only within the context of being involved in a “War on Terror”. While in this “War on Terror”, any action seems reasonable to prevent terrorists from blowing up Chicago buildings and killing our families. This is a continuance of the promotion of fear that reached recent heights under the Bush administration but has been in practice for centuries.

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Volume 8.4

What Is News? – Going Green

The cold and dry seasons prove to be a more difficult and challenging time than our seasons of warmth and abundance. Issues with homelessness and hunger become more severe. Impacting these issues will require more than a short article, but alleviating the suffering of those subject to homelessness or hunger is as easy as bringing food or clothes to the nearest person in need. However, humans are not the only creatures who struggle and suffer through these challenging seasons.

We can learn a lot from observing nature. Trees produce nuts that squirrels eat. Squirrels bury nuts, some of which eventually turn into trees. Maybe the tree the squirrel is standing on started out as a nut buried by a squirrel.

An observant look around even the most concrete jungle will reveal a myriad of creatures working for survival. A great benefit can be had by the individual who keeps these creatures in their consideration. When one observes any of these creatures, they will see them engaged in the work of survival. This work provides the daily and future needs of the individual and their family. In this aspect, we as humans can relate to the importance of working for the survival of ourselves and our family.

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