On December 26th each year for the past 20 plus years, I ask this question at my family gathering. “What’s the news?” We ask this question in Swahili every day for 7 days beginning on the first day of Kwanzaa, a celebration of African American History. I have been asked quite often, why I celebrate Kwanzaa with my family. Besides the fact that the majority of my family members are of African American Heritage, Kwanzaa also is a celebration which embraces my own values.
So why am I asking this question on June, 6 months away from Kwanzaa? Because there is news to tell, and the news encompasses the
principles that are shared at Kwanzaa. The first day of Kwanzaa the reply to Habari gani is “Umoja.” Umoja means unity. Umoja is to strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race. For those of you who took part in the Tompkins County community’s showings of Race: The Power of Illusion, you understand that race does not actually exist. There are not biological differences that separate us from each other into “races.” We are all of one race, the “human race.” We do represent a diversity of culture though.
Camp Earth Connection is my medium for creating safe spaces where we can all come together, with our differences and similarities and share and learn from each other. It is meant to be a space which provides safety to be who you are, to be accepted, and to connect with each other. It is a space to make connections with our Mother Earth. Unity is community.
On Saturday, June 27th CEC will have a Grand Opening Celebration of the beginning of a new community living space, a campground which provides cabins and campsites for families who share these values. From 1-5pm the community is invited to come meet the staff and tour the facilities as we share food and engage in a variety of activities together. I hope to see old friends and meet new friends. In honesty I am both a little anxious and very excited about this new direction that CEC will venture in. Like many of us, I crave community and connection with both nature and people – and I look forward to each new day.
With Peace and Gratitude,