Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, December 31, 2022

MVNews this week:  Page 11

Mountain Views-News Saturday, December 31, 2022 


Today is the sixth 

day of Kwan

zaa. But what is 


I heard about the 

newly -created 

down-home secu

lar holiday called 
Kwanzaa from my older brother 
when he was attending Long Beach 
State College. Back then, in the 
1960s, there was a professor Ronald 
Everett who was often described as 
a militant, pro-black professor. Everett, 
who soon changed his name 
to Ron Karenga, felt that the popular 
reli-gious commemorations such as 
Hannukah and Christmas were based 
on mythical stories, and he wanted to 
create a secular, and ethically-based 
commemoration focusing on an alternative 
for black people.
Karenga took a little from here and a 
little from there to create this holiday, 
and he used Swahili words because 
he believed at the time that Swahili 
was the most common lan-guage in 
Africa. Since he wanted to create an 
alternative to Christmas, he made his 
holi-day start on the day after Christmas, 
December 26. And as an inspiration 
from the eight days of Hannukah, 
he decided that followers of 
his new holiday would light a candle 
each night for seven nights, not eight, 
and on each of the seven nights, a 
specific principle would be focused 
upon. There might be gift-giving – 
why not? After all, everyone is giving 
gifts at Christmas, and even Jews 
have begun to exchange gifts during 
Hannukah. Gift-giving is always a 
big winner.
Karenga decided that his holiday 
would be loosely patterned after the 
many harvest festi-vals of Africa, 
so he called his holiday “Kwanzaa.” 
Swahili for "first” is actually “kwanza,” 
though Karenga added the extra 
“a” to distinguish this new holiday. 
“First” is referring to the first fruits 
of the harvest. Of course, even in Africa, 
all the harvest festivals would 
have been over perhaps two months 
before December 26. 
Karenga put a lot of thought into the 
new secular holiday, even though it 
had many trappings of Christi-anity 
and Judaism. For example, each day 
of Kwanzaa is dedicated to one of 
the seven principles, which Karenga 
called the Nguzo Saba (“seven principles” 
in Swahili). These principles 
are regarded as the basic set of values 
for African Americans to “rescue 
and reconstruct their lives and build 
a sustaina-ble Afrocentric family, 
community, and culture.”
Though I am well aware that Ron 
Karenga and Kwanzaa are not without 
their controversies, I choose to 
look at the way the observation of 
this holiday can be uplifting to each 
of us. After all, don’t we all have roots 
in Africa? (If you want to know about 
the controversies, you can Google 
them, but that’s not my concern here). 

Umoja – Unity. 
“To strive for and 
maintain unity 
in the family, 
community, nation, 
and race.”
This, of course, 
is a noble cause 
for anyone in 
any communitywork. I believe 
that this can also 
relate to political 
awareness, with 
the emphasis 
that our “leaders” 
should always 
see that we 
are all One, and that “political actions” 
should always emphasize our 
unity, and move towards unity, not 
Kujichagulia –“Self -determination. 
To define ourselves, name ourselves, 
and speak for ourselves.”
This is another noble Principle for 
each of us. In life, what we do for education, 
for work, in relation-ships,
etc., should all be considered in the 
context of “who am I” and “what is 
my purpose in life?”
Ujima (collective work and responsibility). 
“To build and maintain our 
community together and to make 
our brother’s and sister’s problems 
our problems, and to solve them 
Working together in synergy is a positive 
force in any community. We 
should always think that we are our 
brother’s keeper.
Ujamaa (cooperative economics).
“To build and to maintain our own 
stores, shops, and other businesses 
and to profit from them together.”
It is widely known today that it 
makes good economic sense for 
ANY community to support their 
own craftspeople, and to buy locally. 
This is a very fundamental concept, 
without which you are always 
a “slave” to external forces, and “the 
clock.” The wider community is discovering 
(perhaps too late) that it is 
better to support locally-based businesses, 
rather than a WalMart, and 
an Amazon. 
Nia (purpose). “To make our collective 
vocation the building and developing 
our community in order to 
restore our people to their traditional 
Karenga was focused on Americans 
of African Descent re-finding their 
great Purpose, which in this case, has 
to do with working together to build 
up the community to strength.
I like to think that this also includes 
the idea that all of us should be working 
to get back to something greater, 
that is, getting back to our spiritual 
sense of self. 
Kuumba (creativity): “To do always 
as much as we can, in the way we can, 
in order to leave our commu-nity 
more beautiful and beneficial than 
we inherited it.” 

Christopher's Kwanzaa kinara. 

It is a fact that most of us can always 
do more than we do, and we can do it 
better, and we can continu-ally take 
on more and to break mental and 
physical limits. This includes the 
idea of “Making every place better 
for my having been there,” which is 
more or less what Karenga said.
Imani (faith). “To believe with all 
of our heart in our people, our parents, 
our teachers, our leaders, and 
the righteousness and victory of our 
This is a mouthful, and Karenga 
included a lot of ideas, but it has to 
do with giving both our mental and 
physical support to our leaders. It 
appears to suggest that we should 
not look afar for our help or salvation, 
but support “our own” people 
and work together within our own 
communities to make a better life. 
Though Karenga was originally focusing 
on Black Americans, the principle 
is still sound to support our natural, 
local leaders because any good 
cause needs not only good followers 
but good leaders.
Those are the 7 Principles that 
Karenga came up with in the new 
holiday of Kwanzaa, with the suggestion 
that the followers focus upon 
one Principle during each night of 
family gathering, during all 7 days 
of Kwanzaa. Each day, Kwanzaa 
practitioners light a new candle on a 
seven-branched candelabra called a 

Yes, there are a lot of details, as with 
any such activity, and so you can read 
all about it in the official web site: 

No, Kwanzaa is not known to be observed 
in Africa, now or in the past. It 
was created in the United States, and 
is observed mostly by Americans and 
Canadians. According to one poll, 
of all those who observe Kwanzaa, 
at least 85% also observe Christmas. 
Karenga adopted the basic principles 
of the harvest celebrations in Africa 
to create the observance of Kwanzaa. 


It was late December of 2020. COVID 
cabin fever was hitting me hard. 

As a writer and communications consultant, 
I’ve long worked from an office 
in my home. 

I was used to working alone at home, 
but COVID isolation was pushing me 
beyond my limits. 

Family issues were also weighing me 
down. My father, then 87, was facing a 
series of health challenges. 

I was on guard day and night, waiting 
for a phone call to ask me to help get 
him off the floor because his legs were no longer able 
to hold him. 

Isolation and stress — and constant worry about getting 
COVID and passing it on to my parents — were 
weighing me down. 

My oldest sister, Kathy, offered what she thought was 
the perfect solution to my woes: 

“You need to get a dog,” she said matter-of-factly one 

I’ve always loved dogs and routinely stop to pet any 
pup who crosses my path. And I still miss my childhood 
puppy, Jingles, a sweet collie mix. 

But I’d never considered bringing a canine companion 
into my home permanently. 

I’m away from the house too often, I told myself. I 
don’t want to leave a dog isolated in a crate. And I 
travel for work too often. 

But the truth is, I didn’t want the responsibility. I 
wanted to come and go and do as I pleased. 

Luckily, I woke one morning sick and tired of the 
COVID isolation. 

“I’m getting a dog,” I said to myself. 

I contacted local rescue shelters, assuming I’d have 
my pick of dogs that day. But many other people had 
decided to get rescue dogs during the pandemic, and, 
after six weeks of trying, no shelter had replied to my 

One Saturday, after I’d spent hours calling and emailing 
various places, I spotted an ad for Labrador puppies 
that were available in Punxsutawney . I thought 
it might be a scam, but it was legitimate. 

I woke early the next day and made the 90-minute 

journey to pick out my puppy. Only nine days old, 
five of the pups had already been claimed. I had my 
pick of four boys. 

The first three wanted nothing to do with me and 
thrashed about uneasily in my arms. But then I 
picked up the fourth and he settled contentedly as 
though he’d found his perfect human. 

He did. And I’d found my perfect pup. 

Thurber turned 2 on Christmas Day, and throughout 
my 60 years, he’s one of the very best decisions I ever 
made in my life. 

I didn’t realize how often I’d not been laughing until 
he came into my home. I still laugh out loud at 
least five times every day. (See some reasons why at!) 

I share this story for the simple reason that one of the 
best things any human being can ever do to benefit 
their mental and physical well-being is to get a pet. 

The companionship, the exercise, the pure joy of 
having such a creature share life with you is incredibly 
beneficial. Several studies show this. 

According to PsyPost, a recent study finds that dogs 
especially improve the health and physical activity of 
elderly dog parents. 

Pets make us more empathetic and more civil toward 
each other. 

And they certainly help us escape from the never-
ending noise and stress of modern life and bring us a 
peace and calm that we badly need. 

So as we wrap 2022 and head into 2023, here’s one 
resolution that you should strongly consider: Get a 



We, at Lifeline for Pets, are 
so thankful to have your 
readership every week, to 
show you the beautiful pets 
we care for until we find 
them a loving home. 

We feature a variety of ages and purr-sonalities, even 
colors! Some, like sweet Hawthorn here, are special needs, but all of these precious 
souls give us so much joy. We are privileged to be able to care for them, and 
we hope you en-joy reading about them. 

If you have a moment, please visit our website, at to see 
more and even learn how you can help support us. 

We wish you all a very happy holiday season, and all the best in the new year. As 
we say . . .Meowy Christmas and a Grr-eat New Year! 

Pet of the Week 

Two-year-old Paco is such a happy, wigglydog! This silly guy loves romping in ourplay yard, chasing balls, and getting lots ofback scratches. You can tell he’s in an extra 
silly mood when he flops onto his back andstarts rolling around in the grass. Be sure to 
snap some photos – whether gracefully inmid-run or posing for the camera, Paco isextremely photogenic.

 The adoption fee for dogs is $150. All dogadoptions include spay or neuter, microchip,
and age-appropriate vaccines.

 New adopters will receive a complimentaryhealth-and-wellness exam from VCA 
Animal Hospitals, as well as a goody bagfilled with information about how to care 
for your pet.

View photos of adoptable pets and schedule an adoption appointment Adoptions are by appointment only, and new adoptionappointments are available every Sunday and Wednesday at 10:00 a.m.

 Pets may not be available for adoption and cannot be held for potential adoptersby phone calls or email. 

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