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Youngstown Celebrates Kwanzaa

Published: Wed, January 2, 2013 @ 12:15 a.m.


Lynnette Kimako Miller, right, a local Kwanzaa event coordinator, watches as Mercedes Dykes, 8, left, and her sister and Aniaya, 6, light candles during the final day of Kwanzaa. The McGuffey Centre hosted an event Tuesday on the final day of the seven-day holiday.

By Danny Restivo



After seven days of cultural celebration, local residents congregated to recognize the final day of Kwanzaa.

“Tonight we celebrate Imani; faith. And with faith, all things are possible,” said Lynnette Kimako Miller, local Kwanzaa event coordinator, while speaking to a crowd at the McGuffey Centre on Tuesday evening.

The New Year’s Day event was the culmination of a seven-day holiday that exalts a different core principle each day. Tuesday represented Imani, or faith, the last of the seven principles that are celebrated during Kwanzaa.

Families flocked to the centre’s gym where they witnessed a blend of African traditions and black-American customs. Harambee of Youngstown Inc., a local youth organization, entertained the crowd with an African drum performance while children danced.

Thomas Smith, 25, was one of several drummers who created a rhythmic Afrocentric beat.

Smith said he had been playing drums since he was 7, and Harambee, which means “Let’s all pull together,” was a way for him to share his craft with the community while strengthening his character.

“Playing drums helps my timing with the other drummers, and it creates rhythm for me and the dancers,” he said. “It’s also helped strengthen my leadership qualities in the community.”

Janerall Brown, 32, has been working with Harambee for seven years. He said Kwanzaa and the organization bring greater meaning to him and his family now after his brother recently died. He said his nieces and nephews can look upon the youth organization and the holiday as positive model to follow while living in a challenging environment.

“This keeps the cycle going for them; through events like this, now they can see the positive aspects of life,” he said.

Since Dec. 26, Kwanzaa recognized seven principles which include, Umoja, (unity); Kujichagulia (self-determination); Ujima (collective work and responsibility); Ujamaa (cooperative economics); Nia (purpose), Kuumba (creativity); and Imani (faith).

Though all the principles play an intricate role in the holiday, Miller shared the importance of Imani on the final day of Kwanzaa.

“Have faith in yourself, your family, your community, and support each other no matter how difficult it may be,” she said.


1steelwagon(284 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

Please forgive my ignorance but can someone tell me just what exactly Kwanzaa is and what's the meaning of it ?
Where did it come from and why is it celebrated ?

I don't remember anything about this holiday growing up,in fact I'd never even knew it existed until a few years ago.

Just wondering,has this always been a traditional African holiday ?
Thanks,always looking to learn something new.

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2Attis(1128 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

steel: kwanza is the invention of a black nationalist in the USA during the 1960s designed to deepen the racial divide in America and undermine Christmas. No African culture ever practiced it or ever will.

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3Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

Kwanzaa = Separating the races.

A makeup "whatever" racist "whatever".
The "real" Africans laugh/upset at whatever this is.

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4ulistenup(95 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

This post bears repeating:

Kwanzaa is a pagan celebration.

Maulana Karenga created Kwanzaa in 1966 as the first specifically African-American holiday. Karenga has expressed that his goal was to give Blacks an alternative to the existing holiday and give Blacks an opportunity to celebrate themselves and their history, rather than simply imitate the practice of the dominant society.

So, as seemingly innocent as Kwanzaa is, it was originally instituted as a pagan alternative to Christmas.

Interestingly, Christmas was set at the end of the year, originally to counteract pagan celebrations, which occurred at the same time.

As the world again becomes pagan, we have entered a time of pagan holidays, like Kwanzaa, specifically put in place to counteract Christianity.

The fact that some blacks may also celebrate Christmas indicates their lack of understanding of Karenga's intentions.

Kwanzaa's "core principles" are "touchy-feelingly" seductive, and on the face of them - positive.

But I am against any and all attempts, including Karenga's, of returning the end of the year to a celebration of pagan rituals that only serve to confuse people and diminish the importance of the Christian celebration of the dominant culture: Christmas.

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5saddad(654 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

Whats so important about the Christian celebration? You think its special compared to the others?

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6isaac45(404 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

yes, a great companion comment board to the emancipation proclamation story...once again, scum

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7Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago


"yes, a great companion comment board to the emancipation proclamation story...once again, scum"

Yes, once again, Should practice what you preach. How many black on black homicides in 2012 in the city? Did a innocent child die because of some idiot shooting in a apartment building? If you want to follow principals follow them, but don't blame everyone else. So tired of excuses. And this is nothing but a racist thing. There is no doubting that. You say were scum, no skippy, the scum are the ones that MURDER innocent victims. No, the scums are the wanna be gangstas, murderers, killing of innocent children, killing of innocent victims, stealing, threatening, and on and on. Those are SCUM, not comments made on a "racist made up thing". Your arguments hold no value but stupidity! Quit with the excuses and be held accountable.

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