DAC Scholars Hold Kwanzaa Celebration at BMS
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On the afternoon of Monday, Dec. 19, the DAC scholars held a Kwanzaa celebration at the middle school.
Co-adviser Patte Bettis-Eddie explained that Kwanzaa is not religious, as many people think. It is always celebrated on the day after Christmas.
At the party, the students enjoyed food and music and talked about personal experiences.
Dr. Maulana Karenga, a University professor at the University of California Long Beach, established Kwanzaa as a holiday to celebrate African American culture. It speaks to the best of what it means to be African and human in fullest sense.
“[Kwanzaa] is based on Dr.Maulana Karenga’s seven principles which are written in Swahili,” said Bettis-Eddie. “Kwanza means the first fruits of the heritage of African Americans.”
The seven principles, called Nguzo Saba in Swahili, are translated in English as: Umoja(unity), Kujichagulia(self-determination), Ujima(collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa(cooperative economics), Nia(purpose), Kuumba(creativity), and Imani(faith).
Co-adviser Greg Deegan said, “This is a celebration of unity, history and honoring ancestors. It’s always celebrated after Christmas, but we celebrate it before so that the students can be involved.”
He also said Kwanzaa celebrations have been held every year for the last five years. This year’s celebration was bigger than in past years.
“This year, [we have more attendees] than in previous years,” Deegan explained. “We have sixty people and this is one of the largest that I have seen in a while. We have fifteen students from the high school and the rest are from the middle school. This is good.”
Bettis-Eddie and Deegan both concluded by saying that the idea was to create a network of kids who could share experiences and encourage each other to succeed.