Habari Gani….Welcome to the 4th day of Kwanzaa
The response to Habari Gani on this day is UJAMAA (00-JAH-MAH) COOPERATIVE ECONOMICS: To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and profit from them together.
Out of the fundamental concepts of “African Communal Living” comes the fourth principle of Kwanzaa. In a community or family, wealth and resources should be shared. On the national level, cooperative economics can help African Americans take physical control of their own destinies. On this day, ideas should be shared and discussed for cooperative economic efforts to provide for needs as related to housing, education, food, day care, health, transportation and other goods and services.
The Ujamaa principle empowers families to come together around their collective economic interest and to see their economic strength in sharing resources and cooperative investing, buying, and selling. Moreover, the moral ties necessary to achieve and practice the Ujamaa principle obligate those who live in the community to support, care for and look out for each other and to see the interest of the each person as tied to the interest of the family and community. In a word, wealth and resources should be shared.
In 2012, The Nielsen Company released “The State of the African American Consumer”, a groundbreaking report projecting African Americans buying power at 1.1 Trillion dollars annually by 2015. To illustrate how massive this figure is, if African Americans’ purchasing power equated to a country’s GDP, we would be the 16th largest country in the world! What does this mean? Black consumers have more economic power than we may realize. It is important to note that the 1.1 Trillion figure may not necessarily be all cash on hand, as we may be using credit cards and loans to make certain purchases. Also, spending power increases and/or decreases with one’s income. However, as a collective, there is enormous potential for black consumers to leverage our economic power by way of supporting black owned businesses to foster community economic development.
The NAACP and other organizations are constantly advocating for policies to create more opportunities for black owned businesses (e.g., increasing access to capital) to succeed. But, while these organizations are affecting change at an institutional level, I want to highlight how we, as individuals, can foster an environment where more black businesses can thrive. First, we must stop the massive “leakage” of our money out of our communities. Currently, a dollar circulates in Asian communities for a month, in Jewish communities approximately 20 days and white communities 17 days. How long does a dollar circulate in the black community? 6 hours!!! African American buying power is at 1.1 Trillion; and yet only 2 cents of every dollar an African American spends in this country goes to black owned businesses. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.
Simply put….Family we have to be better and do better as it pertains to patronizing our own and building for our own. One very simple yet profound way of doing this is through the establishment of a family fund. Have each family member contribute something no matter how small. At the end of the month, year or a designated time, decided as a family what you want to do with the money save. Everyone has a voice and choice in the decision.