Umoja, The First Principle of Kwanzaa
The Kwanzaa celebration is an important part of our community’s end-of-year holiday celebrations, and its first principle – “Umoja” which means unity – is at the core of who we are at OneUnited Bank.
Umoja stresses the importance of togetherness for the family and the community, which is reflected in the African proverb, “I AM because WE ARE.” Those powerful words inspire us every day. We believe that everyone in our community is responsible for one another and that by working together we will achieve great things.
Light the first candle
The candle we light for Umoja represents the symbol of unity…all of us taking responsibility for our families and neighbors.
If you think about it, this candle represents the value and priority we place on respecting Black lives. This does not mean that we oppose or are indifferent to other people’s lives, but history teaches us we must fight to ensure that others do not devalue or lessen the importance of the Black community.
How can we show unity? Sometimes it’s marching arm in arm and fighting for social and economic justice. Or using our money purposefully by participating in the #BuyBlack and #BankBlack movement.
Sometimes, unity is a kind word spoken to someone or a helping hand to someone in need. It’s a nice comment to someone on social media. It’s a “Like” on Facebook. It doesn’t have to be structured or organized, but it could be.
This concept of unity can make a difference in our financial health as well. We can achieve more by using our $1.2 trillion in annual spending power to support our community. By participating in the #BuyBlack and #BankBlack movement, we can create more jobs and build wealth.
The importance of unity
Each of us has our own ideas, and we each express them in different ways. But acting on those ideas requires participation by many people. If our ideas are good enough, we probably won’t have any trouble getting others to agree. If enough agree, we’ll be able to create a united front.
With unity comes power. Problems that once seemed insurmountable can be tackled. Think of it like a choir. If everybody sings their own song, it’s just noise… but if everybody sings together, it’s a thing of beauty.
Unity gets attention. Think of Martin Luther King’s March on Washington. If he had marched alone, would we be talking about that important day today? By having people united for the cause, he wasn’t just a man on the Mall in Washington. He was a voice to listen to, a spirit behind a movement.
Unity creates togetherness. For lots of different reasons, many of us can’t be with our family for the holidays. But the Kwanzaa celebration reminds us that whether or not we’re physically together, the important part is that we feel connected.
We grow as the community grows
We take unity seriously at OneUnited Bank. Yes… it’s right there in our name. Just as you strive to improve your financial standing, we stand with you and strive to improve and add to the services we provide you. As we serve and bring unity to our communities, we will support our economic growth.
Our success depends on your success… and that happens with Umoja first.