Umoja: Unity

Umoja: Unity – To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race
stock-photo-kwanza-kinara-175 years ago, during the great Negro migration, my grandparents moved from Tennessee to Chicago. Living first in a tenement on the west-side, then eventually buying a home on the south-side – one of the first black families in Englewood. They raised 10 children, and housed EVERY Miller and Sevier family or friend that made the journey out of the south.
As a child, my cousins and I did EVERYTHING together. Even though we lived all over the south side, we all went to Gillespie Elementary on 95th & State. We were solid.
Almost 40 years ago, my aunt realized that our family was slowly drifting apart. Given the size and scope of the Miller-Sevier clan, this was not acceptable. When she invited us over and told us we’d be celebrating Kwanzaa…FOR A WEEK, we honestly thought she was crazy.
So…40 years on…we’ve lost and found family and friends…moved away and came home…closed and opened our hearts…
We are Catholic and Protestant and Jehovah’s Witness and Muslim and Agnostic and Buddhist and Atheist and Vulcan…
We are gay and straight and married and single and parents and children and divorced and widowed…
We are employed and unemployed…hurting and well…aching and recovering…serving time and serving our country…struggling in school and struggling at home…
We are Millers and Seviers and Powells and Rileys and Davis’ and Jones’ and Adams’ and Sandeens and Turners and Pitts and Letts and Bennetts and Kings and Thigpens and Browns and Baileys and Bells and Burns and Washingtons and Langdons and Hills and Goldens and Johnsons and Darbys and Shipps and Petersons and…and…and…
Blood or choice, in our hearts and minds and souls…WE ARE FAMILY.
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