AACS delves into heritage and history at Kwanzaa celebration


The audience, made up of the older and younger generation, was encouraged to become proactive and embrace the seven principles of Kwanzaa. That means to listen first, and to then put the words into action.

The audience, gathering at the African American Cultural Society (AACS) on Dec. 26, honored the principles – which were created in 1996 by Dr. Maulana Karenga out of the Black Power Movement – and celebrated the remarkable heritage, culture and community of African Americans and the Diaspora. 

Dr. Karenga of California State College established the observance beginning Dec. 26 to Jan. 1 to welcome the first harvest. The professor resonated Kwanzaa out of the Swahili language. 

The seven principles of Kwanzaa are each celebrated on one of those days ascribed to, and are collectively known as the Nguzo Saba. 

The guide to living the seven principles of Kwanzaa are: umoja (unity), kujichagulia (self-determination), ujima (collective work and responsibility), ujamaa (cooperative economics), nia (purpose), kuumba (creativity), and imani (faith). 

Edward H. Brown Jr. and his wife, Wilhelmina, illuminated the mishumaa saba, a group of seven candles, representing the seven principles. Their daughter, Edwina, discussed each meaning.

Kwanzaa was replete with song and dance, African drums, speakers, VIPs, vendors, and more.  

Melba McCarty reinvigorated the journey for greatness.

‘Black Candle’ shown 

Following a comment from a speaker, a response at times was answered back from the audience with “Habari Gani,” meaning “What is the news?” or “Ashé,” “It is done.” 

Kwanzaa maximized an interactive video presentation. 

“The Black Candle” film was screened and focused upon Kwanzaa’s relevancy. It was produced and directed by M.K. Asante Jr. and narrated by Maya Angelou.  

Speaker Palm Coast Vice Mayor Nicholas Klufas, talking to the youth, said, “The youth are the future and the change agent that is going to push diversity and make it more of the norm.  

“And, that’s where we need to be,” he added. “That is: Diversity is just normal life because that allows us to take the cross-section of all of our roads, and make decisions that are best for everyone.”

Kwanzaa offers African Americans the opportunity to reconnect with their African roots.  

Along with his wife, Imani, Dr. Kwando Kinshasa emphasized the ujima principle during the libation tribute. 

Tribute to icons

During the libation tribute to the ancestors, emphasizing the ujima principle, speaker Dr. Kwando Kinshasa, along with his wife, Imani, said, “Let’s call out those individuals, who we feel extremely connected to, and we offer a responsibility to them because they are waiting for us to carry out our responsibility.” 

Participants from the audience called out Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, and others. 

Palm Coast Vice Mayor Nicholas Klufas said that the youth are the change agent that will push diversity. 

Speaker Melba McCarty said, “We are each obligated to study continuously African-based origins, principles, ideologies, and practices – including those of Kwanzaa – by reading and rereading the literature relevant to our growth, the literature relevant to who we are.” 

She reinvigorated the journey for greatness and the common good.

She spoke of those values that help us adhere to, and follow the principles of Kwanzaa, and turn them into a lifestyle.  

“We should make time for reflections on the Kwanzaa values, not just reciting the words and lighting the candles, although that’s very nice,” McCarty interjected. “But, we must delve into a deeper meaning of how each principle can be applied to our walk, to our daily life, to what we do,” she added. That means to listen first, and to then put the words into action. 

Others taking part in the Kwanzaa presentation were Eileen Hopson with a call to the community, AACS Chaplain William Hopson, emcee AACS President Joseph Matthews, singer Sahaquira Hadley, director/ dancer Khemya MitRahina and the Pan-African Drummers, and AACS Board of Directors Chairman Edmund G. Pinto Jr. with the closing.


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


Birthday wishes to Thea Smith, Gladys Carr, Jan. 17; Donald Jones, Jan. 18; Gloria Wilder, Jan. 20; and Nathaniel Shropshire III, Jan. 21.



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