PALMDALE – More than 125 people gathered Sunday for the Antelope Valley NAACP’s annual Kwanzaa celebration.
The Kwanzaa celebration featured a rousing Drum Call & Cou Cou Dance by the Niancho Eniyaley African Performers, a History of Kwanzaa Slide Show by Jamaal Brown, a performance by the Lancaster Unique High Steppers and several guest speakers who elaborated on the meaning behind Kwanzaa’s principles.
There is a misconception that Kwanzaa is the black Christmas, but that’s not the case, said guest speaker Simone Zulu.
“Kwanzaa is a celebration of harvest,” Zulu said. “Kwanzaa, basically, is seven principles and it’s also first fruit.”
Kwanzaa, a week-long celebration that takes place from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1, was created to introduce and reinforce seven basic values of African culture. The seven values are called Nguzo Saba, which is Swahili for the seven principles. Each day of Kwanzaa is dedicated to one of the seven principles – Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity) and Imani (Faith).
“Kwanzaa serves as an educational process for people who don’t know about African American history,” said guest speaker V. Jesse Smith. “It’s something that they can learn from and then celebrate.”
“It is a celebration, regardless of your political affiliation, regardless of your religious affiliation, it’s something that can be celebrated by everyone,” said guest speak Jamaal Brown. “It’s a celebration of family, community and culture. It’s a time to reflect on the successes and lessons of the past and build on those lessons for the future.”
Event chairperson Waunette Cullors said education and community were the two most important aspects of Sunday’s celebration.
“For everybody to go into the New Year working together, and being all in one accord,” Cullors said. “It is a great celebration of family, community, friends and just everybody being together in fellowship.”
“It was an honor and privilege to attend the 2012 NAACP Kwanzaa Celebration of family, community and culture,” said Lancaster Human Relations Tapestry Commissioner and Agents of Change President Dr. Miguel Coronado. “Although the night was cold and rainy, the atmosphere at the event was warm and inviting. The Kwanzaa Celebration is a beautiful way to mark the ending of 2012, celebrating the year’s bountiful harvest.”
View many sights from the 2012 Kwanzaa Celebration below.