Habari Gani?! Umoja! Tarana Burke Was the Embodiment of Unity in 2017

Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo campaign (Paul Sancya/AP Images); photo illustration by The Root/GMG
Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo campaign (Paul Sancya/AP Images); photo illustration by The Root/GMG

This year, The Root is making the blackest holiday of them all great again!

And for each day of Kwanzaa, we will be highlighting one person from the community who exemplifies the principle of the day.


On the first day of Kwanzaa, Dec. 26, the principle is Umoja, or “unity.” To practice Umoja is to strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.

The person we feel best exemplified Umoja this year was Tarana Burke, the black woman credited with the #MeToo movement, created some 10 years ago to bring awareness to sexual assault and violence against women, and which came back to the fore this year in light of the disgusting actions of prominent men in public spaces.

Like so many before her (see Anita Hill, Sojourner Truth and Kimberlé Crenshaw), Burke is a black woman who was fighting the good fight long before white women others even knew there was a fight.

We salute Burke for her bravery and for her absolute love for the health of her community, especially for its black women and girls who are too often abused, neglected, silenced and, yes, sexually assaulted.


The #MeToo movement has created awareness of sexual violence as well as a community of survivors. It also proves that sometimes doing the right thing yields fruit, even many moons later. To you, Ms. Burke!

Who do you think exemplified Umoja or unity this year? Sound off in the comments!


Sidenote: Those practicing Kwanzaa greet each other with the words, “Habari Gani?!” roughly translated as “What’s the good news?” To which participants respond with the principle of the day, in this case, “Umoja!” (You gotta say it with feeling, too.)



I’m gonna give a nod to Marshawn Lynch. After dragging a referee from a fight earlier in the year. He goes on to stand for the Mexican National Anthem, then sits for the American one.