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Creating a Caring Community

I was fortunate to be able to attend a small, English speaking school in Rome, Italy for the 9th through the 11th grade. It allowed me to have friends from many different cul-tures and countries. I found the diversity interesting and enriching to me.

Today, I still enjoy other cultures and have friends of many lands and beliefs. I find that spiritually, there are commonalities of love, caring and respect for all communi-ties. I believe it leads to understanding and tolerance. Indeed, it would be a boring world if everyone was just like me or you.

While my Dad was attached to the American Embassy, we had a small community in a foreign land and we had protocol that we as family members had to adhere to too.

These honored values of Kwanzaa are an example of good community values.

Kwanzaa was originally created in 1966 by a professor at California State University named Dr. Maulana Karenga. He created the celebration to reaffirm the vision to re-store African culture, families and communities together in America and eventually around the world. It was created to bring people together in respect, community, commerce and celebration. A candle is lit to honor each principle between December 26th and January 1st.

The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa are:

Unity: Success starts with unity – unity of your family, community, nation, and culture.

Self-Determination: Be responsible for yourself, what you do and how you act, and to create your own destiny.

Collective work: To build and maintain your community and to help those within your community.

Collective economics: To build, maintain, and support your own stores, establish-ments, and businesses.

Purpose: To be responsible to Those Who Came Before (your ancestors) and to Those Who Will Follow (your descendants).

Creativity: To use creativity and imagination to make your communities

better than they were in the past and leave them better for the future.

Faith: To believe with all your heart in your people, your parents, your teachers, your leaders, and the righteousness and victory of your struggle.

There is a lot of respect in these values. Any community or individual would benefit from these principles being their mission statement and therefore guide for actions.

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