An African American holiday, Kwanzaa belongs to all of us

Titilayo Bediako and youth from WE WIN Institute.

Kwanzaa is an African-American holiday, which acknowledges the achievements of Black people, yet it is more.

This special time is based on a seven principle value system called the Nguzo Saba. These principles invite people of all nationalities to come and celebrate African-American greatness and their own eminence.

WE WIN Institute cordially area residents and visitors to its Kwanzaa celebration on Dec. 20 at Dayton’s Bluff Recreation Center, 800 Conway St., St. Paul. The celebration is an opportunity for Minnesotans to be entertained and witness Kwanzaa in action. Youth from WE WIN Institute, Arlington and Dayton’s Bluff Recreation Center will lead in the celebration. Gospel singer Tonia Hughes has been working with youth in Minneapolis and St. Paul to use song as a way to educate their audience about Kwanzaa and will also participate along with Christian Adeti, a master African drummer. College student and activist, Kennedy Pounds will share her poetry, hip-hop artist, Longshot, will perform and master storyteller Nothando Zulu will share African stories. Libations will honor the ancestors, and Native-American and Aztec dancers will also share their culture through one of the Kwanzaa principles.

Principles of Kwanzaa

The principles of Kwanzaa adhere to the universal cultural norms. The first principle of Kwanzaa is Umoja. It means to help each other, to love and cherish family, community and nation.

Kujichagulia (Koo-g-cha-goo-lee-ah) means self-determination, which is the second principle of Kwanzaa and is critical for development.

Ujima (Ooh-G-mah) is the third principle of Kwanzaa, which means collective work and responsibility.

Ujamaa (Ooh-jah-mah) is the fourth principle of Kwanzaa, which means cooperative economics.

Nia (Nee-ah) is the fifth principle of Kwanzaa, which means purpose.

Kuumba (Kah-Oom-bah) is the sixth principle of Kwanzaa, which means creativity.

Imani (E-mah-nee) is the seventh principle and possibly the most important principle of Kwanzaa. Imani means faith.

The seven principles of Kwanzaa make it possible for people of all cultural backgrounds to come together and speak with the voice of unity and togetherness. Working together makes the load easier and enhances life for ourselves, our children and our communities.

For more information on this coming event contact Linda Benford at WE WIN Institute at (612) 721-2364 or www.we-win.org.

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