January 1, 2022
Happy New Year! Welcome to DIRECTIONS the monthly online newsletter of the Delaware Valley Association of Black Psychologists (DVABPsi). We look forward to providing our readers with pertinent information to support, encourage, and uplift our community and those who serve the community. The goal of DVABPsi is to make a positive impact on Black Mental Health today and in the future. We begin the new year on the last day of Kwanzaa reflecting on the principle of Imani (faith) and with our first newsletter issue with our new president Dr. Tashekah Smith. It has been the faith that affirms our self-worth that has brought us thus far, and that faith that will continue to lead us on. We send a collective WELCOME to Dr. Smith in her new role as she accepts the torch to continue our movement forward.
DeBorah Gilbert White, Ph.D.- Editor
Dr. Tashekah Smith
Delaware Valley Association
of Black Psychologists
Hotep DVABPsi Family,
First I would like to thank (Asante) Dr. Ayo Maria Gooden for her leadership and pioneering spirit over the past two years, it is with her direction that the organization grew and accomplished our goals (see December's Directions for highlights). Our vision for DVABPsi includes increasing our membership, continuing the work that Dr. Gooden started, and being a beacon of hope and healing for the Black community. We are healers, educators, community leaders, business owners, writers, and the list goes on. We aim to welcome additional members from various professions into DVABPsi in order to continue building a community of Black professionals who are united, committed, and dedicated to DVABPsi.
I am a Clinical Psychologist who is employed in the public sector, I have been a member of DVABPsi throughout my undergraduate studies through my post-graduate life. I have been mentored by a DVABPsi member who is one of the most superb Elders who taught me about life, the mental health profession, this organization, and humanity. My mentor provided encouragement and celebrated me as I accomplished my goals.
As a student member of DVABPsi I recall meeting with my mentor on a monthly basis, attending the monthly meetings, and learning from the professionals at the educational seminars. This experience was a catalyst for my profession as a psychologist. As a young woman who was uncertain about her path at the time, I knew human services was my passion, however, this organization assisted with boosting my passion for psychology, and for that, I am eternally grateful. My optimism and gratitude make me motivated to sustain the mission of this organization as we aim to instill the same passion and provide similar support to our student members. This organization helped me to develop as a professional and is my family. It is with great honor and responsibility that we (the Executive Board and I) continue moving the organization forward with the hard work and support of the pillars of the organization--all of our members.
Thank you very much (Asante Sana) to the members of the Executive Board--Dr. Ayo Gooden (Immediate Past President), Dr. Ingrid Tulloch (Vice-President/President-Elect), Dr. Janice Hoffman Willis (Founding President and current Secretary), Dr. Faruq Iman (Past President, Editor and current Treasurer), Dr. DeBorah Gilbert White (Directions editor and Public Relations Committee Chair), Mr. Coleman Holmes (Community Outreach Chair), Dr. Ferlin Charles (Student Affairs Co-Chair), Ms. Rashidat Antonio (Student Affairs Co-Chair), and our growing membership body. It would take several days to list the names and contributions of all of our members. Know that we adore you, appreciate your work, and could not do this work without you all, Zola up!
IMANI (FAITH) KWANZAA IS OUR HOLIDAY
AYO MARIA GOODEN, PH.D., ABPBC
Immediate Past President DVABPsi
Hotep Family,Habari Gani? (What’s the news?) Imani (Faith)! Today is the first day of the new year and the last day of Kwanzaa. There has been some recent controversy about whether-or-not Blacks should celebrate Kwanzaa because of the alleged history of the creator of Kwanzaa, Dr. Maulana Karenga. I will address the concern about Dr.Karenga, briefly review some of the Caucasian holidays, and then discuss why Kwanzaa is a healing holiday for Blacks. It is important to remind people that Critical Race Theory is based on the fact that society and the legal system are based on racist practices. Black people are accused, charged, and convicted of crimes that they did not commit or acts that should not have been entered into court proceedings. Racist Caucasians/whites have a history of falsifying evidence to imprison Blacks. These same racists have used Black people to convict other Black people. Caucasians who are racists do not judge Blacks fairly. Racist Caucasians/whites ignore, forgive and even glorify the heinous crimes of Caucasians. Caucasians/whites are glorified for committing mass murders (Columbus exterminated over 8 million Taino people) and given a national holiday. I do not accept any judgments made about Blacks, especially considering the fact that Blacks are never judged in court by their peers and that for the past 500 years there has been a “smear campaign” to create propaganda that gives the false impression that all Blacks are the worst people and criminal from birth. We do not know the truth about Dr. Maulana Karenga but we do know the man has obtained his Ph.D. and has provided Blacks with Kwanzaa.
The holidays most people celebrate in the United States of America were created to shape the
loyalties of the people. An analysis of these holidays was provided in Directions, October 1, 2021. Holidays such as Columbus Day celebrates a mass murderer, rapist, torturer, theft, liar,
initiator of slavery, and enslaver. Are the opponents of Kwanzaa also bemoaning the celebration
of Columbus Day? I think not. Then there is Thanksgiving, the day consolidated by President
Lincoln of the numerous incidents of Pilgrims inviting Native Americans/Indigenous People who
taught the Pilgrims to survive in these lands, to join them in a meal that was devised to lure
unsuspecting men, women, children, and babies to their deaths at the hands of the Pilgrims who
massacred them. Will the adversaries of Kwanzaa protest the celebration of Thanksgiving? Of
course not! Will they continue to celebrate the travesty of the 4th of July which is celebrated by
many people in the United States as “our Independence Day? Are we ever to awaken and realize
that only Caucasian males were free on July 4, 1776? Females were not given the vote or the
right to own property or to have a bank account until 1920. Blacks were legally being held as enslaved people (men, women, and children were beaten, raped, tortured, murdered without
consequences for their abusers/murderers) because of the lack of freedom afforded Blacks.
Native People (including men, women, children, and babies) were being hunted down, raped,
tortured, and slaughtered, Latinx and Asians were being emotionally, sexually, and physically
abused and murdered by racist Caucasians. The United States of America has been built on a
foundation of lies, theft, abductions, every form of abuse, and a determination to keep the truth from the masses. Fighting Critical Race Theory or teaching accurate history is the action of racists
and racist supporters who want to maintain the status quo and prevent the people around the
world from seeing the facts. We must pull their sheets off! Caucasians do not have the right to
tell Black people or any other Melanics (People of Color) what we should embrace as a people.
Caucasians must start holding themselves accountable for the atrocities against Blacks and other
Melanics. Caucasians who are not racists must speak out against the continued attempts by racist
Caucasians to demonize Black people, especially Black men, and tell the truth about the daily
and historical assaults on Blacks and other Melanics. Caucasians who are not racists must fight
to ensure justice in the courts, schools, places of employment, and in every aspect of life activities.
The celebration of Kwanzaa is important for Blacks because it provides a concrete way to build a strong family foundation among Black people that we must embrace if we are to return to our
original level of greatness. For example, Kwanzaa provides symbols to remind us of the
importance of talking to each other, talking to our children and Kwanzaa provides strategies to
incorporate them in the seven nights of conversation focusing on principles such as unity, self-
determination, and cooperative economics. Kwanzaa does not focus on gift-giving and spending
money you should use for building a strong future. Kwanzaa is a reminder that you are an
African person and that learning the truth about who you are will help to heal and empower you.
The last day of Kwanzaa, January 1, is Imani which means Faith. We must have faith in each
other and in our success in eradicating racism as we heal from the effects of racism. DVABPsi
provides you with a detailed explanation of Kwanzaa and how to celebrate it. Following is the terminology and Nguzo Saba (7 Principles).
Origin of Kwanzaa
Kwanzaa was created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga as an African American and Pan-African cultural holiday. It was designed to appeal to people of African ancestry, regardless of religious affiliations by focusing on the dedication to African values that build and maintain strong families and communities. The word Kwanzaa was taken from the Swahili phrase, “Matunda ya Kwanza” which means “first fruits.” Dr. Karenga added the extra “a” to distinguish the holiday from the Swahili word. It is a seven-day celebration starting on December 26 and ending on January 1, when Zawadi is given to Watoto (children). Although Kwanzaa was designed as an annual community celebration, it may be celebrated in the privacy of your home. Libations are poured to honor God and the ancestors (family members and other people of African ancestry who have passed on).
How to Celebrate Kwanzaa
The color scheme should be black, red, and green in addition to African patterns and artifacts. The Kinara, Mazao, Muhindi and Kikombe cha Umoja are placed on the Mkeka.
Lighting the Mishumaa Saba
The black candle is lit first. Black represents African people and is placed in the middle. The red candles are placed to the left of the black candle and represent the struggle that we experience prior to our success which is represented by the green candles. The green candles are placed to the right of the black candle and also represent hope and our future. Candles are alternately lit starting with the red then the green until they are all lit on the last day, Imani, January 1.
After lighting the black candle, the eldest person to the youngest discusses how she or he has embraced Umoja in the past and describes her/his future plans to embrace this principle. The second day Kujichagulia is discussed and then each of the other principles on the subsequent days. On the last day, Imami, Zawadi are given to the Watoto. Zawadi should be educational items such as books, puzzles, chess sets, etc.
Mazao (Crops)-Fresh fruits are used to symbolize African harvests which as a Kwanzaa symbol represents the rewards of your labors.
Mkeka (Mat)-The Mkeka represents our need for a strong foundation of history and tradition to build our families and communities.
Kinara (Candle Holder)-The Kinara is symbolic of our roots including our parents, grandparents, and other ancestors.
Muhindi (Corn)-Muhindi represents our children (Watoto) or potential children and the future they embody.
Mishumaa Saba (Seven Candles)-Each candle represents one of the Nguzo Saba (Seven Principles). One of the Nguzo Saba is celebrated on each of the seven days starting with the first principle, Umoja.
Kikombe Cha Umoja (Unity Cup)-The Kikomba Cha Umoja symbolizes unity.
Zawadi (Gifts)-Zawadi symbolizes the labor and love of parents and the commitments made and kept by the children.
Bendera (Flag)-The black, red, and green flag.
(The Seven Principles)
December 26-Umoja (Unity)
To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
December 27 Kujichagulia (Self-Determination)
To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves.
December 28 Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)
To build and maintain our community together and make our brother’s and sister’s problems our problems and to solve them together.
December 29 Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)
To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
December 30 Nia (Purpose)
To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
December 31 Kuumba (Creativity)
To do always as much as we can to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
January 1 Imani (Faith)
To believe in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.
To learn more please watch DVABPsi’s Kwanzaa program on our website: www.dvabpsi.org Click on Mbongi. You may also see our Mbongi on Facebook at DelawareValley Association of Black Psychologists. Read our newsletter, Directions.
Alexander, M. (2012). The new Jim Crow: Mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness. New York, NY. The New Press.
Barashango, I. (1983). Afrikan people and European holidays: A mental genocide. Washington, D.C. IVth Dynasty Publishing Company.
Crenshaw, K.; Ritchie, A.; Anspach, R.; Gilmer, R.; Harris, L. Say Her Name: Resisting Police Brutality Against Black Women URI: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/53f20d90e4b0b80451158d8c/t/5edc95fba357687217b08fb8/1591514635487/SHNReportJuly2015.pdf
Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings That Formed the Movement, Kimberle Crenshaw (Editor), Neil Gotanda (Editor), Gary Peller (Editor), Kendall Thomas (Editor) May 1996
Karenga, M. (1989). The African American Holiday of Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community & Culture.
DVABPsi Student Leader and Poet
Hello, I am Jenelle Belton. I am a senior at Temple University where I study psychology. As a freshman, I became dedicated to liberating people of all colors and all walks of life from the detrimental effects of mental health adversities. Along the way, I became Promotions chair and now graduated to President of the Association of Black Psychologists Student Circle Chapter for Temple. This is where I learned how imperative it is for Black people to uplift each other, create a safe space for expression, and spread knowledge of how to grow as a collective. This chapter includes members of the student circle of the Delaware Valley Association of Black Psychologists (DVABPsi).
While developing my research experience, I became a research coordinator for Temple University Hospital in the Obstetrician Gynecologist department. I collect, analyze, and organize data for studies focused on Preeclampsia, a biomedical device, and a vaccine. Data findings have the potential to curb life-altering adversities pregnant women face during and after childbirth. I hope to translate my research skills to the field of psychology while pursuing a higher degree after graduation. As a Temple graduate, I hope to obtain a higher degree in psychology where I plan to study the psychological effects of childhood adversity, trauma, multicultural differences, and treatment (non-medicinal) for anger.
Following are poems from a poetry book I created this semester in Creative Writing: Poetry. These two particular poems are dedicated to my fathers, mothers, and my people (whether they are related or not) who have guided me to where I am now and given me great wisdom along the way:
Of Body & Bone - Poems by Jenelle
My body may grow for centuries, although I only have one home in land or water, I thrive, yet my stalks shrivel under the breath of a cool breeze I have many brothers and sisters, all of whom I do not know
carrying wisdom to those around me, although I cannot speak I eat from the sun rays, yet I do not burn
I know nothing of destruction, only growth and repair
though I do not harbor hands
(For my Father)
Her expression lives upon my lips, rising and falling as each days’ turmoil stirs. Her fingers, mine, graze my skin like swift, vast waves. Her legs carry me miles away, once strong enough to walk through mangroves; now walk concrete jungles. Her roots, as thick and coarse as Mount Tucuche lay dense and thinned upon my scalp; subjected to the chemical effects of Eurocentric idealization. Her soul lays across the pits of my stomach; guiding me away from douens between the bush. She beats the steel drum that pulses my heart. She is the silence to my peace; resting upon my shoulders, hushing the cries of snakeskin curses.
These walls, bars
I live behind
only a rendition created
to re-enforce the chains
I am …
stolen land; miles
away from home.
With each day I forget who I am.
living amongst those who hate
I lay dormant, starring
I am doomed…
She, the eye between my brows and blood between my bones…
She is me
(For all my mothers)
Shackles hang like vines from throats around me
Tethered to the hands of the Bourgeoisie
Lay just out of sight
His breathe steady, heaving in and out
(Dedicated to all of my People)
To contact Jenelle Belton and the DVABPsi Student Circle
What Was The Mau Mau Uprising?
The East African country of Kenya was settled by Europeans at the start of the twentieth century. The settlers concentrated in the fertile central highlands, mainly farming coffee and tea. They displaced large numbers of the Kikuyu people who had worked the land as migratory farmers for centuries When Kenya became a crown colony of the British Government in 1920, the settlers were able to introduce a number of restrictions on land ownership and agricultural practice in order to protect their own interests and push the Kikuyu out. Forced from their traditional areas, many disaffected Kikuyu migrated to the capital Nairobi.
During the early 1950s, resentment grew amongst the Kikuyu people against European settlement and their lack of political representation. This was first shown in attacks carried out in the latter half of 1952 by the banned secret society, Mau Mau, against Kiluyu loyal to the government. Strongly paramilitary in outlook, Mau Mau used secret ceremonies to enforce allegiance amongst its members and began a campaign targeting European settlers in their isolated farms. Armed groups of Mau Mau formed forest gangs in the Aberdare and Mount Kenya areas from where they would emerge to carry out attacks against the civil authorities and settlers. These attacks increased and a state of emergency was declared by Governor Evelyn Baring in October 1952. Leading members of the Mau Mau organization, including Kenya's future president Jomo Kenyatta, were detained by the authorities.
The Mau Mau stepped up its attacks on European settlers and Kikuyu, culminating in the attack on the village of Lari in March 1953 in which 84 Kikuyu civilians, mainly women, and children were murdered. British troops began to reinforce local forces to try and counter these attacks. The Home Guard was strengthened and security measures began to be put in place on the Kikuyu Reserve to protect civilians and livestock.
Kikuyu Freedom Fighters
Kikuyu farmers working as members of a counter-gang tracked down Mau Mau insurgents. The work of counter-gangs included impersonating Mau Mau in order to obtain information. British operations started to concentrate on areas where Mau Mau was most active. These included "Operation Anvil" in Nairobi in April 1954, the mass screening of Mau Mau and its supporters. Large-scale sweeps took place in the Aberdare and Mount Kenya areas during 1955. British intelligence on the Mau Mau also improved with the introduction of pseudo-gangs, led by Kikuyu-speaking Europeans disguised as Africans, who infiltrated the forest gangs.
Although the declared state of emergency was to continue until 1960, British military operations effectively ceased in November 1955. By this point, thousands of Mau Mau members had been detained and they had suffered over 10,000 casualties.
Adapted from an article printed in The Mashariki Gazeti -
The Newsletter of the Eastern Region of the Association of Black Psychologists, Vol.17, No.2, Fall 2021
Faruq T.N. Iman, PH.D., C.H.P. Editor
Join The Association of Black Psychologists (www.abpsi.org) and DVABPsi. Make your contribution to healing our people!
As of January 1, 2022, DVABPsi membership dues will be increased to $50.00. Membership information and form can be found on our website.
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