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Collective celebrates principles of Kwanzaa

Peacemaker Staff Reports / January 5, 2018

The Greensboro Kwanzaa Collective hosted its 8th annual Kwanzaa celebration with food, festivities, arts and crafts and performances by Kuumba Dance Company, an African dance company from Danville, Va.

Nearly 100 people participated in the seven-day celebration that was held at Bethel AME Church from December 26 through January 1. It is tradition that each evening consist of the customary candle-lighting ceremony, storytelling, drumming and dancing. The daily celebrations also encourage community building and sharing.

Kwanzaa is a Swahili word that means “first” and signifies the first fruits of the harvest. Developed by Dr. Maulana Karenga, the first Kwanzaa was observed in 1966 in Long Beach, Ca. as a way to honor the heritage of African Americans and others of the African diaspora. Kwanzaa celebrations are intended to emphasize the role of the family and community in African American cultures through seven guiding principles of the Nguzo Saba: Unity, Self-determination, Collective Work and Responsibility, Cooperative Economics, Purpose, Creativity and Faith.

A significant part of Kwanzaa is the Kinara or candle holder, which contains one black candle in the middle, flanked by three red candles on the left and three green candles on the right. The colors symbolize black for the people, red for the struggle of the ancestors, and green for life and the future and hope that comes from their struggle. When a new candle is lit each day it represents one of the principles.

On the third night of the holiday, a green candle was lit to symbolize Ujima: Collective Work and Responsibility, which stresses the importance of “building and maintaining our community together and making our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems and to solve them together.”

District 1 Guilford County School Board member, T. Dianne Bellamy-Small served as the guest speaker. The Black Lives Matter Greensboro Chapter was honored for their work in the community.

Created by a group of families and community members, The Greensboro Kwanzaa Collective is a program and partner of Indigo’s Cultural Arts Centers in Greensboro which hosts the event each year to help reconnect cultural communities.

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