Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Happy Kwanzaa Black Trans Style-Ujamaa

TransGriot Note:   On each night of the Kwanzaa celebration this year, I'm going to write about each one of those principles and explain how it applies to the chocolate trans community and our cis African descended brothers and sisters.  


Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics): To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.

Haban gani?    What's the news?    

It's time to light the fourth candle on the Kinara and ponder the fourth principle of the seven celebrated during Kwanzaa.

Ujamaa   Cooperative economics is definitely one of those principles that will help us and our cis family members at the same time.

We are looking at 25% unemployment in the African American community as a whole.  The unemployment rate for trans people is estimated to be at 40%, which is why we are angry about ENDA not being passed or perturbed that we have not seen the language for this bill.

If African descended people have employment, that means they have money in their purses and pockets to spend and help support Black businesses in the community.  If you are a Black business owner and take the time to hire a qualified Black transperson, it is a win-win situation that helps you, the Black community and the African descended trans community at the same time.

Some of my trans brothers and sisters are lawyers, accountants, and own various businesses.   It's time in the spirit of the principle of ujamaa to consider hiring them.   For those of us in the African descended trans community, let's consider hiring our own people first or seeking out trans owned businesses in order to help build them up.   It will help us build a stronger economic base within our community and in time build these businesses up to where they can hire other qualified trans people as well.

The reverse is also true for African descended transpeople.  We need to look to support Black owned businesses inside our community first before seeking to spend our money outside of it.  

And to expand that spirit of ujamaa still further, when the various Caribbean nations start repealing their British colonial era laws used to harass and mess with our trans cousins there and stop aiming faith-based violence at them, let's consider supporting our trans brothers and sisters by spending some vacation money in those Caribbean nations as well.   

If we can do that in the spirit of the ujamaa principle, it will benefit not only us but the entire African descended community across the Diaspora.

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