Ujamaa Kwanzaa Expo at the Maryam Mosque & Buying Black



This past Tuesday, I had the opportunity to attend the Ujamaa Expo at the Maryam Mosque in celebration of the fourth day of Kwanzaa, called "Ujamaa". Ujamaa is significant of "cooperative economics", which means that the participants of the holiday engage in creating their own businesses, supporting each other's businesses, and keeping their money circulating within the community in order to build and maintain facilities for community progression.





This event featured many vendors, speakers, and performers of the local Chicago area in celebration of "buying Black". Recently, there has been many discussions on social media about the importance of group economics regarding the almost constant executions of Black women, men, and children by police across the nation. The issues of police brutality are not only exclusive to the United States. They're even occurring internationally to Black people in places like the United Kingdom as well.

Discussed at the 10.10.15, "Million Man March" 20th Anniversary event, Minister Louis Farrakhan's "Justice or Else" movement advised the Black community to "Boycott Christmas". Seeing that Black Americans have an estimated $1.1 trillion buying power in the U.S., this has been suggested in order to gain justice from the murders of Black people by the police. The plan is to relieve economic support from mainstream companies like Walmart in order to "gain attention from those who have contributed to our oppression." (via Justice or Else)

This is a wonderful idea to promote and practice group economics. There have even been many blogs, business directories, and other social media sites that have contributed in creating lists of businesses to shop at for the holiday season. While seeing this participation is great, we have to keep in mind that this has to be a constant practice with a collective effort. In my humble opinion, supporting Black owned businesses should be a normal thing to do 365 days a year, and not just during the holidays. I'm not at all stating that this is what J.O.E. or any other blog or site has promoted; shopping Black temporarily, only stating that it has to be exercised constantly. There has to be alternatives and more businesses that sell items of necessity. 


                                     

Back to the event. I think it was definitely a great turn out. Some of the businesses that were in attendance was: Anita's Gumbo, the UNIA Chicago chapter, IyaboSauda Adornments, Chicago Style Vegan, Dragon Faiya Creations, Peace and Love Healing Bath Salt, Nature's SkinLuv Products )773-732-5982), Angborki Doe Designs (312-286-8257), and many more. All of these businesses are local to Chicago and hand craft many of their items.

Some of the goodies I bought

Believe it or not, your dollars matter not only financially, but also politically. Spending in your own communities brings more jobs which decreases the crime rate, and can create facilities and political power necessary for communal progress. Of course this is not just a "black and white" solution to issues like police brutality, nor is it the only option, but seeing that this is a capitalistic society, I do believe one of the main goals should be to build capital and ownership. 

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