It is Kwanzaa time again. I posted “Habari gani?” on my Facebook status update earlier this week, but found just one taker. Is Kwanzaa fading away as a holiday tradition, I wonder?
No matter.

I like the holiday (though as I mentioned last year, it is not one that celebrates my own ethnic heritage, but it does celebrate the African-American heritage of family in my household) and I have all the stuff for it, so we’re celebrating!

Besides, how can a bioethicist philosopher resist a holiday built on principles?

Today’s principle is ujima – principle of collective work and responsibility. I’ll resist the temptation to point out that certain governmental institutions function best when ujima is applied, and focus instead on something close to home – our beloved Duke City Fix.

Many people are not aware of this, but Duke City Fix (aka DCF) is an all volunteer operation. The money generated from Google Ads barely covers the Ning bill, and moderators, contributors, bloggers, Morning Fixers, and administrators get zippo for their work.

Ahem. That last bit is not exactly true. And in keeping with the most recent FTC cyber-regulations, I must be scrupulously honest with you readers.

We do get something in return for our labors. We get the pleasure of knowing that Duke City Fix fills a need in Albuquerque. We give you slices of Albuquerque’s collective thoughts and in return, we get the satisfaction of knowing that DCF matters. And we get the chance to create friendships, cyber and otherwise, with folks we might have otherwise never met.

But DCF does not function on goodwill alone.

It functions because the DCF team of Kitson, Adelita, Edith Grove, Johnny Mango, Rudolfo, The Ditchrider, Spring, Brendan, Masshole in Fringecrest, Vashti, Alexis, and our beloved managing editor Sophie Martin keep their eagle eyes on this site. It functions because guest Morning Fixers watch the news each night and put together posts each morning (trust me, this is harder than one might think). It functions because the moderators take their jobs and DCF policies seriously. (Ever wonder why the tenor of the discussions on DCF take on a different tone than, say, others focusing on our fair city?)

And of course, DCF exists because of the hours of work that the original team, including our founder and publisher, Chantal Foster, put into making this a site worth coming back to again and again and again.

But the DCF team is not the only reason this works. Ujima happens on Duke City Fix because DCF members and readers contribute their thoughts, questions, and photographs.

In other words: YOU make DCF possible.

We’re only three days into Kwanzaa, and we have a few more principles to go. Umoja (unity), and Kujichagulia (self-determination) have passed, and Ujamaa (cooperative economics), Nia (purpose), Kuumba (creativity), and Imani (faith) are coming up.

I’m taking some time to figure out how to build these into our family routine now that the children are older and more outspoken, and blogging about my successes and not-so-successful moments in my spare time as a warm-up for my New Year's Resolution to Blog Every Day. (We'll see how long that lasts). The familia in this Barelas casita will spend some time today working towards ujima by putting together a meal for a family in our community and working on the house and at the family business.

The mundane pursuits of daily life make it easy to gloss over the importance of ujima – our collective work and responsibility. Setting aside a day to think about how our collective actions contribute - as cogs in the machinery, as citizens in a democracy, as members of special-interest groups, and as members of Duke City Fix – is a good way to remember the importance of these actions and to hold ourselves accountable for them.

Happy Kwanzaa!

Views: 24

Comment by Ron Da Bomb on December 28, 2009 at 1:18pm
I would also like to say "hats off" to the fine folk who keep the lights on here at DCF.
Comment by Adelita on December 28, 2009 at 1:20pm
Barelas Babe, just this morning I was reflecting on how I have made the most amazing friends as a result of DCF. I've had DCFers over to my house for dinner, jewelry shows, art projects and just to hang out and chat. I've regularly met with DCFers for lunch and brainstormed ideas for stories. I've even reconnected with an old college classmate as a result of this and for that I am so happy!

I am grateful to Sophie for asking me to be a part of all of this initially. It was the first time I'd ever written anything for eyes other than my own. I love my city, my neighborhood and all the wonderful people that make Albuquerque (Burque) what it is - beautiful.

Thanks Barelas Babe for a reminder of how great this website is. And I'll see you tomorrow for pizza and your bead stringing lesson!
Comment by Mom Of Two on December 29, 2009 at 8:39pm
Thank you DCF Team!!!
Comment by cc on December 30, 2009 at 8:24pm
Ujima - collective work and responsibility.
I learned about this last year from you, Barelas Babe - it is such an under-appreciated, under the radar type of value. Not one of the Character Counts' ones APS touts to our children ( I know they have responsibility - but not collective work!). It's definitely an important value for any community. What a day for your blog to fall on and for you to choose to talk about this reality many of us have come to rely on! Duke City Fix - a place I have made good friends. DCF provides me with authentic interaction about the myriad of issues important to our high desert river valley. Because of the people doing it, and because of its focus on our town, it's unique. It is NOT a cyber location that looks like every other kinda strip mall cyber location. You come here, you know where you are.

And we are really LUCKY to have this.
Comment by cc on January 3, 2010 at 12:04pm
I happen to like Ben Moffett's ideas though, too - always room for ways to improve!! The Collective Idea Bank is wonderful over here.


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