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Celebrating Kwanzaa

I don’t remember being told, “we’re going to start celebrating Kwanzaa.” We just did. I think I was 12.

Kinara in place. New terms trying to roll off the tongue.

“Habari Gani.” “Umoja.” “Kujichagulia.” That was my favorite one to practice.

Karamu at the Wesleys’. Forming a big circle and calling out the names of our ancestors.

And a few years later, leading Kwanzaa celebrations at church because as I often had to explain, yes, you can be Christian and celebrate Kwanzaa too.

Whether you officially celebrate Kwanzaa or not, I hope we all take inspiration from the Nguzo Saba or seven principles that are its foundation. (Learn about them here)

HARAMBEE!! (Let’s pull together)

Author and family standing at a table with a lit kinara in the center
Celebrating Ujamaa with my mom, friend Maisha and her mom, Mama J during one of our many mother-daughter get togethers


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