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Spotlight: Kwanzaa with Zora

A woman lights the Kinara as she celebrates Kwanzaa with her family.
Askar Abayev
/
Pexels
A woman lights the Kinara as she celebrates Kwanzaa with her family.

We’re in the midst of holiday celebrations with Hanukkah wrapping up December 15, and Christmas just 10 days after that on the 25th. But one tradition not often talked about is Kwanzaa, which starts the day after Christmas.

The Association to Preserve the Eatonville Community is hosting Kwanza with Zora: A Gathering of Community, History, and Celebration.

The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa

According to the National Museum of African American History & Culture, Kwanzaa was created in 1966 by Maulana Ron Karenga as an African American and Pan-African holiday celebrating history, family, values, community and culture.

During the holiday celebration, which runs December 26 to January 1, activities are centered around The Seven Principles: Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity), and Imani (Faith).

Each day during Kwanzaa represents one of those seven principles said N.Y. Nathiri. "The celebration has really taken on a certain kind of cultural context for people of African ancestry and those who recognize it as a unifying cultural tradition."

An Appetizer to the Zora Neal Hurston Festival

Kwanzaa with Zora: A Gathering of Community, History, and Celebration will be a virtual event curated by their scholar Sidney Rose McCall.

"For the last three years, she has brought together people from around the country to talk about either their experiences with Kwanzaa or to give background on each of the days. Each day has a principle that is looked at and explored," said N.Y. Nathiri.

The program will be available on the Association to Preserve Eatonville Community's YouTube page.

N.Y. Nathiri said this event is the appetizer to the 35th Zora! Festival season, which begins January 7 in Eatonville, FL.

She said Eatonville, which is the oldest all-black town in the country, is a perfect example of The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa.

"Of course, Eatonville predates the Kwanzaa celebration as a cultural event, but the point is that you see in those seven principles, how community functions, how a community is united, how a community is looking to develop its assets in terms of economic development."

The Association to Preserve Eatonville will host Kwanzaa with Zora: A Gathering of Community, History, and Celebration from December 26, 2023 to January 1, 2024.
The Association to Preserve Eatonville
/
eventbrite
The Association to Preserve Eatonville will host Kwanzaa with Zora: A Gathering of Community, History, and Celebration from December 26, 2023 to January 1, 2024.

Continued Education

The new, official version of the Advanced Placement African American Studies course is out, but it's unclear whether or not the state of Florida will accept the AP curriculum.

As The Association to Preserve Eatonville prepares for their event to educate people on Kwanzaa, Nathiri said they will continue to push back on negativity in a positive way.

"For years, we have done what we call the Zora Book Giveaway, where we make an effort to get in as many children's hands as possible, new age-appropriate books because we want to encourage the joy of reading. This is not about 'Black Books,' it really doesn't matter as long as it's age appropriate."

She said given the current climate it is important to "stand in the space that you have historically stood in."

After a brief stint as Morning Edition Producer at The Public’s Radio in in Rhode Island, Talia Blake returned to WMFE, the station that grew her love for public radio. She graduated with a double-major in Broadcast Journalism and Psychology from the University of Central Florida (Go Knights!). While at UCF, she was an intern for WMFE’s public affairs show, Intersection. In her spare time, Talia is an avid foodie and enjoys working out.
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