Ujima | Collective Work and Responsibility
by Melishia Brooks
Ujima is day three of Kwanzaa, and the principle means collective work and responsibility. In theory and practice, I work to stay true to this principle by remembering that I am a part of a community of Black girls and women. I remain conscious of our shared realities and responsibility to one another. Too often we find ourselves so entrenched in our own lives that we put aside the issues and burdens of our fellow sisters. When we do this, we become bystanders to not only their struggles but their accomplishments as well.
I don’t know about you, but I would rather be part of the whole, and share in both. Ujima is our reminder that we are never alone in this journey for human rights. And so, in practice, I enjoy sharing the joys of The Lighthouse | Black Girl Projects team and participants when one of our college ambassadors organizes Black women on her PWI campus to address issues specific to Black girls and women on campus. Collective work allows us to identify and address these issues with a better chance of lasting impact. At the same time, I also share the responsibility of this organization to be a partner in a network of people for Black woman on a different campus who lost her job. We are all responsible in seeing to it that she finds a new job where she feels safe and secure. I am not separate from either of them, neither am I from you.