Posted by: Reginald Cyntje | December 28, 2014

Habari Gani! Ujima (Collective work and responsibility)

As I look back on 2014, I ask myself did we make our sisters’ and brothers’ problems our own? There are many examples I can pull out of 2014.

When my band was getting ready to record our third album, the musicians pulled together to make it happen. Outside of regular scheduled rehearsals, Amin drove from Baltimore to meet with Herman so they could work on smoothing out rough edges. Allyn opened up his home to us so we could work on the music and get acclimated to the recording environment. Christie also acted as engineer for the last tune. We collectively worked on the music. The end product resulted in unity.

On a personal note, I witnessed complete strangers helping my family locate a loved one in Hawaii. Our hands were tangled by various mental health laws. Thankfully, two women provided info that aided in saving a precious life.

Another example of Ujima was when Lasana went missing. The community pulled together to search and support. I was disturbed by the news of his passing but felt blessed to see how his legacy brought the collective under the same roof.

Today I’m hopeful. With the growing Black Lives Matter movement, I’m thankful to see communities practicing Ujima. People of different backgrounds are pulling together to create positive change.

We are making our sisters’ and brothers’ problems our own. We are empowered.

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