Kwanzaa event highlights struggles and successes

PHOTOS BY JEROLINE D. MCCARTHY/DAYTONA TIMES
The Cultural Committee was made up of Edward Brown Jr.; Leuwhana Sylvain; Meshella Woods, curator; Brenda Andrews, cultural chair; Janice Williams; Eileen Hopkins; and Donald Bryant.

A Kwanzaa celebration reinforcing the seven principles, or the Nguzo Saba, was held Dec. 29 by the Cultural Committee of the African-American Cultural Society.

It reached many that filled the seats – a marketplace for vendors – and through cultural entertainment, acknowledged our African heritage.

The celebration resonated another annual Kwanzaa at the African American Cultural Society, emanating since 1991.

Dr. Maulana Karenga of the Black Studies Department of California State College, Long Beach, created Kwanzaa in 1966. Kwanzaa is defined as “First Fruits of the Harvest.”

The guide to living the seven principles of the Nguzo Saba are: umoja (unity), kujichagulia (self-determination), ujima (collective work and responsibility), ujamaa (cooperative economics), nia (purpose), kuumba (creativity) and imani (faith). Kwanzaa offers African-Americans the opportunity to reconnect with their African roots.

A candle, celebrating each day of Kwanzaa, is lit from Dec. 26 through Jan. 1.

What candles mean
On the kinara, or candleholder, three red candles are placed on the left of the black candle; three green candles are placed on the right, and the black candle is in the middle.

“The black candle represents unity among Black people,” said Cultural Committee member Edward Brown Jr.

“The red candles represent our struggle, or the blood that we have bled – or in Garvey’s words (Marcus Garvey), our struggle for equality, freedom, empowerment and political unification,” said Brown.

The green candles signify hope for the future.

Brown and his wife, Wilhelmina, lit the mishumaa saba (the seven candles) symbolizing the principles of Kwanzaa.

A ujamaa moment
The Browns’ daughter, Edwina, scaled the depths of Kwanzaa, and said, “It was a communal value system that would aid us in our struggles to be ourselves, to free ourselves as African people, and make our own unique contribution to the four globes of human history.”

The 12-year-old highlighted the fourth day of ujamaa (cooperative economics), which was paramount to celebrating Kwanzaa at the African American Cultural Society.

“Ujamaa involves the call and commitment to build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses, and profit from them together,” said Edwina.

History lesson
Committee member/curator Meshella Woods, focusing on Halena Wilson, president of the Women’s Auxiliary to the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, offered that “the Negro in 1942 should unite his forces and pool his funds for the common good of all.’’

Among the sightings of cooperative economics in African-American history, civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hammer ascribed in the 1970s that “cooperative ownership of land opens the door to many opportunities for group development of economic enterprise” …and establishes “economic independence in the face of economic and political discrimination and retaliation,” said Woods.

“And so that means, as an individual, we can’t accomplish as much as we can as a village. And, that’s the full theme of cooperative economics – starting to think not as I, but as we,” said cultural chair Brenda Andrews.
Entrepreneurial vendors also were on hand for the crowd to support our Black businesses.

And, Kwanzaa was ready to roll with Andrea Graves reciting poetry and Walter C. Lane spinning dance partner Berthena Staton-Hall to depict the expressive culture of African Americans.

A weekend of films in Flagler

The experience of featuring a Flagler Film Festival fuels the desire of a Fifth Annual Flagler Film Festival and 55 films shown in a weekend at the Hilton Garden Inn, 55 Town Center Blvd., Palm Coast.

Organizers Kathryn and James Barry made the announcement of the amazing 55 independent films at the upcoming festival, ranging from two-minute micro-shorts to two-hour feature films. Films from 16 Florida filmmakers, including films from around the world, will be screened.

Burt Reynolds

The Barrys are thrilled that the legendary Burt Reynolds will star in “Miami Love Affair,” a romantic comedy filmed entirely in Miami with a local cast and crew.

In addition to the plots, New York actor/comedian Chris Roach will bring the comedic music video, “Ronkonkomo.” You’ll remember Chris from the CBS comedy “Kevin Can Wait.”

Ryan Egypt’s action short, “Chasing Titles Vol. 1,” will bring Brian Austin Green, and the short filmed in Florida.
There’s Lance Reddick in “Lawman,” directed by Matthew Gentile, plus the Emmy-nominated Robert Picardo of “The Wonder Years” will be screened in “Occupants,” directed by Russ Emanuel.

Jan 12 start
The plethora of films will be featured Jan. 12, 6 to 11 p.m.; Jan. 13, noon to 11 p.m.; and Jan. 14, 1 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Advance tickets are $5 per block; $10 per a one-day pass; and $25 for the all-festival pass.

Tickets at the door are $7 per block; $14 per a one-day pass, and $35 for the all-festival pass.

Log on to the website at www.flagler filmfestival.com for the listings and credit card payment.

As always, remember our prayers for the sick, afflicted, the prodigal son, or daughter, and the bereaved.

Celebrations
Birthday wishes to Marva Jones, Jan. 11; Lutherine McCarthy of Bear, Delaware, Jan. 14; Michelle Kinshasa, Jan. 15; Thea Smith, and Gladys Carr, Jan. 17.

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