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IN THIS ISSUE... Ujamaa History Kwanzaa Senior/Freshman Spotlight Men Of Color Conference Women’s Weekend Retreat Quick Resource Guide

History of Ujamaa


jamaa (pronounced ‘’oo-jama’’) celebrates the rich and diverse heritage of the African diaspora, which includes Black people in the United States, Africa, the Caribbean, and other regions of the world. The word Ujamaa in the East African language of Ki-Swahill means cooperative economics, or the process of working together as an extended family to build and maintain a cohesive community.  This theme truly characterizes the atmosphere at Ujamaa Residential College, located on North Campus, where a friendly, warm, and cooperative living environment supports its members, helping students excel at Cornell, while also serving to support the Black community at Cornell and beyond. Since its inception in 1972, Ujamaa annually sponsors a welcome barbecue, a talent show, and invites speakers to address a wide range of issues that affect the Black community and other equally important issues. Various campus student organizations conduct game and movie nights, community forums, and discussions at Ujamaa during the year. These groups include, but are not limited to the Black woman support

network, The Link: Men’s Alliance, The Caribbean Students Association, Haitian Student Association, Cornell Youth Mentorship Program for Young Men and Women, Association of Students of Color, Ghanaians of Cornell, Nigerian Student Association, National Society of Black Engineers, and the Coalition of Pan African Scholars. You can also participate in Ujamaa’s annual trip to the United Nations and public service programs in the Ithaca community. Ujamaa is more than a residents hall. It is a cultural center where you can learn about the african diaspora and live with students from various backgrounds. We hope that you will come to Ujamaa and participate in Unity Hour. It takes place on Sunday evenings at 8:30 p.m. in Ujamaa Main Lounge.

Creator, and the promise of the year to come. During Kwanzaa gifts are exchanged, with children mostly being given books and heritage symbols. The colors of Kwanzaa are black, red, and green; black representing the people, red for their struggle and green for the future and the hope that the struggle gives. While Kwanzaa does have central values and traditions that most follow, in many cases there are variations from household to household – each family can come up with their own traditions for the holiday.

The 7 Kwanzaa Symbols



wanzaa is derived from the Swahili phrase “matuna ya kwanza”, which means first fruit. The extra A represents African American values. It’s a time of celebration, gathering, and reflection that is celebrated among African Americans. Unlike most holidays, Kwanzaa doesn’t have religious or political significance – its mostly about honoring African and African American culture and heritage. Kwanzaa is based on 7 guiding principles called the Nguzo Saba, with one principle being observed and celebrated each day. On each day of Kwanzaa, a candle is lit from a kniara (a special candleholder), and one of the principles of Kwanzaa are discussed. On the 6th day, which is New Years Eve, a large feast occurs among families and friends as they celebrate their history and culture.

Kwanzaa has 7 basic symbols, each representing a value and concept of African culture and community building and reinforcement. They are:  Mazao, or the crops, which symbolize African harvest celebrations and the reward of collective labor  Mkaka, or the mat, which symbolizes our traditions and history, and the foundations on which we are built upon  Kinera, or the Candle Holder, which symbolizes our roots and ancestors  Muhindi, or the corn, which symbolizes our children and our future  Mishumaa Saba, or the seven candles, which symbolize Nguzo Saba, 7 principles of Kwanzaa  Kikombe cha Ujoma, or the Unity Cup, which symbolizes the founding principle of unity

Kwanzaa was first established in 1966 during the Civil Rights Movement by Dr. Maulana  Zawadi, or the Gifts, which symbolize parents Karenga, a political activist that was a part of the labor and love, and the children’s commitBlack Power movement. Dr. Karenga created the ments holiday in an effort to bring together African Americans by their common culture and history. Dr.  Bendera, which is a flag with the colors of Karenga was inspired by the idea of “first fruit” fesKwanzaa, and Nguzo Saba Poster, or a poster of the 7principles, are 2 supplemental symbols tivals that took place in Africa, and modeled Kwanthat are also used zaa around the ideas and characteristics that fruit festivals had – characteristics like people gathering to celebrate their harvest, remembering their ancestors and the past, and celebrating their culture, Kwanzaa is meant as a way to stress the im-

portance of African communitarian values, placing emphasis on family, community and culture. It was designed to reaffirm a common identity, purpose, and direction, and to strengthen and empower the African American community. In its relatively short lifespan, Kwanzaa has already become a holiday that is celebrated by many people throughout the world. The way that Kwanzaa is celebrated varies from household to household, with each family adding their own special “traditions” to the core of the Kwanzaa celebration.

The 7 Days of Kwanzaa Day 1 – Lighting the black candle representing the first principle Umoja, or unity. Umoja means to strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race. The person lighting the candle talks about the meaning of the first candle, and than reads a passage that relates to its meaning. Than an Umoja cup is filled with fruit juice and shared with those that are present. Day 2 – The black candle is lit as well as the farthest red candle, representing the second principle Kujichagulia, or “Self Determination”. Kujichagulia means to define ourselves and name ourselves; to create ourselves and speak for ourselves – to create our own destiny’s. A passage or poem is shared that relates to the candle’s meaning, and than a Unity cup is shared.

lective Work and Responsibility”. It means we must build and maintain our own community together, and help our community with their problems and solve them together. A passage or poem is shared that relates to the candle’s meaning and then a Ujima cup is shared. Day 4- The candles from the previous days are lit, as well as the next red candle on the left, representing Ujamaa, or Collective Economics. It means we must build, maintain, and support our own stores, establishments, and businesses. A passage or poem is shared that relates to the candle’s meaning, and then a Ujamaa cup is shared Day 5 – The candles from the previous days are lit, as well as the next green candle on the left, representing Nia, or “Purpose”. Nia means we should look within ourselves and set goals that would benefit our community and restore our people to our traditional greatness. A passage or poem is shared that relates to the candle’s meaning, and then a Nia cup is shared

Day 6 – The candles from the previous days are lit, as well as the final red candle, symbolizing Kuumba, or “Creativity”. It means to do as much as we can, in the way that we can, to leave our community more beneficial and beautiful than it was when we first inherited it. Its also a day of the Kwanzaa Feast, or Kwanzaa Karamu, where people decorate, invite friends and families over, and Day 3 – The black candle is lit, than the farshare holiday dishes. Before the end of the day, thest left red, and then the farthest right green. It the eldest member will read the Tamshu La Tutarepresents the third principle, or Ujimam or “Colonana, which is a farewell statement to the feast and the year. The elder also leads everybody into the Harambee salute, with Harambee meaning “all pull together”. Day 7 – The candles from the previous days are lit, as well as the final green candle, representing Imani, or “Faith”. It means to believe in our hearts our people, teachers, leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle. A passage or poem is shared that relates to the candle’s meaning, and then a Imani cup is shared.


Ujamaa Bar-B-Q

Women’s Retreat

etter get ready for Le Femme De Substances’s 5th Annual Women’s Retreat, “A True D.I.V.A”. This year its all about Distinction, Integrity, Virtue, and Authenticity. It’s a chance for sisterly bonding, shopping, women empowerment, and FUN! This January 29th to Sunday, January 31st will be a weekend when the female population will be able to come together and learn skills that would better prepare them for success in a professional environment. For less than $40, you’ll be able to stay in the Sheraton Hotel for 2 nights, and get the chance to learn, bond, and shop at Syracuse Mall (which is definitely one of the best malls around).

“It’s fun, it’s re-

laxing, it’s ‘educational, and it’s something that every women of color should


ust a few weekends into the Fall semester, all roads converged at Ujamaa Residential College, as students and came to enjoy its annual barbeque. The Ujamaa Barbeque represents the advent of a brand new year for Black life on campus – new students, great programs, one community. Neither the rain rampant H1N1 virus the festivities. The for the event, with at every table and around every corner. fired up the grill, dogs for the budding to be served by the

nor the threat of the could put a damper on “The UjamaaUjamaa staff geared up bottles of hand sanitizer Barbeque sanitizing stations represents Senior RA Nick Calder the xxx of a cooking burgers and hot brand new crowd who formed lines Ujamaa staff. year...”

Meanwhile, the live DJ, playing the latest music, gave the event the feel of a New York City block party. On-campus groups, including the Cornell Caribbean Students Association Dance Ensemble (CCADE) and Urban


Last year, the retreat was a weekend packed of workshops, exercise sessions, fun activities, and a chance to really get to know some of the other women on campus. And the retreat always ends with a women’s brunch on Sunday morning in Appel when you are able to reflect on everything that’s happened that weekend – the good and the bad – and learn from it. It’s fun, it’s relaxing, it’s ‘educational, and it’s something that every women of color should experience at least once while on Cornell’s campus. Blaze, the premier hip dance troupe on campus, gave feature performances, sneak peeks at what to expect during the year. As the barbeque slowly wound down, Ken Glover, Ujamaa RHD, managed to get everyone together for the annual family photo. Students, staff and community members assembled on the front lawn for the snap shot, and despite Mr. Glover’s photographic naiveté, the picture was a success. Of course the Ujamaa BBQ would not be genuine without a little dancing. Before students could dart back to their studies, the DJ broke out the Electric and Cha Cha slides. Just then, everyone came together and shared in a dance, which for each seemed all too familiar. It was a fantastic end, to an exciting beginning.

Ujamaa Open House On Tuesday August, 25th Ujamaa held an open house. This program was attended by President David

Men of Color Conference


he Men Men of Color Council’s main objective is to organize and orchestrate a weekend retreat for men of color at Cornell. Its goal is to inspire men of color and arm them with the skills and resources they need to be successful academically and socially once they return to campus. Councilmen design workshops they believe are most pertinent to issues men of color face on campus. It is a two way learning process. Underclassmen bring youthful energy and a drive to contribute to community efforts; upperclassmen and the many alumni who come back for the conference share their wisdom and experiences with attendees at the Conference.  One of the most exciting parts of the Conference is the annual paintball tournament. Men create squads, develop strategies and teach each other how to be a part of a team. Playing basketball, witnessing exciting freestyle battles and dining in style make for a fun and memorable experience. 


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Words from a Community Warrior idway through his final months at Cornell, senior Carl Michael Landers looks back at an illustrious college career, and forward to his ascension to the real world.


the Men of Color Council (MOCC), a male support group whose annual conference in January, aims to increase achievement among men of color at Cornell.

A stellar student and three-sport athlete in high school, Landers, I could imagine, made being a star look easy. An honor student by day, Landers and was captain of both the football and wrestling squads, not to mention, running track on the side.

“I wanted to help the community -- those like myself going through the same struggles and experiences; the MOCC invited me in. The conference itself was an enlightening and rejuvenating experience and that really gave me the push to get me to this part of senior year.”

Landers came to Cornell with lofty goals, wanting to continue playing football and to wrestle, all at the varsity level, meanwhile taking a full course load. He enjoyed a very eventful freshman year, “experiencing everything he possibly could” he says. A citizen of the General Body, as he called himself, Landers would sample G-body meetings just for fun.

“I had so much energy,” Lander says. “I was just happy I got here.” It wasn’t long before Carl, took interest in a particular student group called the Prison Activist Coalition (PAC). From G-body member to sophomore treasurer, Landers became fascinated in the Prison Industrial Complex, the exploitive and cyclical nature of the prison industrial system. He has helped to bring such reputable speakers to Cornell as Fred Hampton Jr., son of the late Black Panther Party member Fred Hampton Sr., Angela Davis, renowned prison rights activist and author, and Rosa Clemente, political activist and hip hop scholar.  Despite his involvement in student organizations, Landers realized during his sophomore year, that he had to slow down. After a very trying first semester, Landers had to make one of the toughest decisions of his life. The need to concentrate on his academic career and becoming a more efficient athlete, forced him to quit the football team. The spring semester following was a complete turnaround for Landers, realizing he “couldn’t do everything.” Junior year brought with it a whole new set of challenges for Landers. Awarded the Cornell Tradition Fellowship, given to students who have exhibited an exemplary commitment to community service, Landers stepped up to more leadership positions. He maintained his involvement in the PAC and took an executive board position on

Landers’ senior year has been much of the same grind -- tutoring students at the Writing Center, competing with the wrestling squad, organizing for PAC and MOCC. In our brief interview Landers shared that there’s but so much one can do within his or her college career: “That’s the beauty of it. You do what you can.” From now until, he receives a job offer for next year Landers will be busy in the job search, as most seniors are.  Much lies ahead for Landers as he eagerly awaits graduation.

“My immediate plan is to graduate from here and get started on a personal project and attach myself to a non-profit or NGO (non-governmental organization), says Landers. They always need resources and bodies and I can contribute my skills and abilities there while helping the community and adding a little this-and-that to my resume. After, I will either find a job or career related to that field or I will go to graduate school.” Landers hopes to eventually get into business. He wants to compile the knowledge he’s gained studying economics and the skills he’ll eventually acquire in the public sector to take a position in managerial consulting or marketing. Do sports accompany Landers on this distant journey? “Yea I think sports are out, Landers says. Granted the athletic arena has done more for me physically and mentally then I could ever fully describe in words. But I’ve been going at it for the better part of 2 decades. It’s time for me to move on and to give my body a rest.” Parting words for the community: “Hakuna Matata,” taken from the popular childhood animated film, The Lion King. “It means no worries,” Landers says jokingly.


ovemember 20, Ujamaa and the Cornell youth mentorship program for men and women. Ate dinner with Children and teenagers from southside community center, the Greater Ithaca Activity Center. At appell. These Ithacan youth also went bowling with Ujamaas residents at Helen Newman bowling alley they also went too the Cornell Versus Senton Hall basketball game. This public Service program was also sponsored by ujamaas faculty fellow, Reverned Hicks and the Ithaca High school African latino club.



FAMILY You can become a part of the Ujamaa Family. The deadline to apply to live in Ujamaa, for the 2010-2011 academic year, is Friday, February 5th 2009. You can obtain an Ujamaa housing application at . Send your application to Ujamaa’s Director, Ken Glover at You can also meet Ujamaa’s residents at Unity Hour on Sunday evenings, at 8:30 P.M. It is held in Ujamaa’s Main Lounge

There are many other student organizations on Campus that are not listed here. Please go to

What is Good Hair? Why do black women wear weaves? How much is too much? How do you feel about your hair? If you wear weaves are you denying your identity? What does your hairstyle say about your character? As a man, are you only interested in women with long hair? Is it okay to perm a childs hair? How do you feel about dating a woman who wears her hair natural, premed or with weave? Email your responses to AFT25@CORNELL.EDU Regina Kimbell made the documentry “My Nappy Roots” in 2005. Go to Tyra Banks also talks about what happens to black children when their hair is permed at a very early age. Search “Tyra Banks Children Perm” in Youtube. You should also look at “Who taught the black child self hatred” .Stay tuned for a discussion and movie analysis of the Chris Rocks controversial movie “ Good Hair”.

tIf you have any businesses that you believe that should be added to this directory please email AFT25@CORNELL.EDU

Upcoming Events in the Community • Last Affair National Society of Minority Hotelies – December 4, 2009 • Ujamaa Pre-Kwanzaa Celebration – Sunday 7p,, December 6, 2009 • Men of Color Conference – January 29-31, 2010 • Les Femmes de la Substance Retreat – January 29-31, 2010 • MGLC Weekend Thursday, Jan 28, 2010 • Black History Month Celebration – February • The LINK Men’s Alliance presents Womens’ Appreciation Week Sunday, February 7-13, 2010, 10am – 11am • CCSADE’s 13th Annual Show Sat, February 27, 2010, 7pm – 9pm

If you want to become a part of the Ujamaa Times Staff, please send an email to We are looking for Photographers, Writers, Editors, Reporters, and Historical Researchers. Anyone is welcome to contribute! In advance WELCOME TO THE UJAMAA TIMES STAFF!!!

Ujamaa Times