December 30, 2008
The fifth principle of Kwanzaa is purpose.
There are many things I can say about this, but this entry is probably the most culturally specific.
One of my concerns this year was that as a community, the African world community has accomplished many achievements on an individual and societal level, but there are still many sobering statistics that show there is work to be done.
The situation with bone marrow donation really cuts to the heart of this matter. Some of us have more mobility, better income, more choices than ever before, but even the most successful black person needing an unrelated donor ends up in the same situation as everyone else like them waiting: their odds suck. They still only have a 60% chance of finding a donor if they live in the States, and around a 20% chance if they live in Canada or the UK.
So for me, the concept of purpose is clear. It is about being able to have the same access to life as anyone else. If people want to solve this problem, they will have to take a hard look at themselves, and decide if they want to make a difference in changing the outcome in this collective struggle. Awareness and registration is a community-building project that will require allies on all fronts, but can only truly be changed from within by the community affected by it.