Ujamaa: A Kwanzaa Celebration

The one event that we did attend over the holidays that involved joyful interaction with others was “Ujamaa, A Kwanzaa Celebration” that took place on Friday evening, December 29th, at the “East End Neighborhood House” on Woodhill Road in Cleveland.

As we know Kwanzaa is a week-long holiday honoring African culture and traditions that began on December 26, 2017 and ended on January 1, 2018. During that time period Nguzo Saba or seven core principles (one for each day) are celebrated which are Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa (cooperative economics), Nia (purpose), Kuumba (creativity), and Imani (faith).

Since the 29th was the fourth day of Kwanzaa, three candles were lit on the Kinara because the principle to be discussed tonight which was the cooperative economics of Ujamaa was based on the first three. Accordingly Ms. Joyce Morrow-Jones, an author of a book on Kwanzaa, spoke to us about the need for economic resources to be shared for the betterment of all. Ms. Morrow-Jones illustrated this by sharing us a story of two competing agricultural tribes whose fortunes were enhanced when they combined their seeds for cross-pollenization. We spoke to Ms. Morrow-Jones for a moment before the program and learned that she knew and respected Ms. Margaret W. Wong through shared activities at the “United Way of Greater Cleveland.”

Another person we visited with who knew Ms. Wong was Mr. Gus Chan from the “Plain Dealer” who was there photographing the event. Mr. Chan has photographed Ms. Wong as well as her sister, Ms. Rose Wong several times over the years.

We also said hello to Ms. Susan Rozman who we met at a Kwanzaa celebration last year and Mr. Jeremy Brustein who attended a demonstration in 2016 for the DACA kids which we were at too.

It is the mission of the “East End Neighborhood House” to “provide families of our community culturally diverse and compassionate social services, education, and activities so each member-from child to senior-can become self-sufficient and thrive.”

Upon our arrival we were warmly greeted by those who work at there who helped to put this program including Ms. Zulma Zabala (CEO), Mr. James Jones (Director of Community Engagement and Outcomes) and Ms. Martinique Mims, the new Community Ambassador who took charge of the program and did a terrific job.

Ms. Mims lead us all in a chorus of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and explained the significance and history of Kwanzaa. Since tonight was devoted to Ujamaa-she asked everyone to share how we support our community economically.

When it was our turn to share, we said a few words about how “Margaret W. Wong & Associates” does a lot to help the disadvantaged with immigration issues and how Ms. Wong supports many worthy community organizations.

Ms. Mims ended the evening by reading a poem that she wrote herself that contained the message in order to be in touch with who we are and maintain our pride and dignity we must know our history which is so important.

Michael Patterson

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC