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Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Myers (above), 66th Air Base Wing noncommissioned officer in charge of the Military Equal Opportunity office, demonstrates a Kwanzaa ritual where she lights a candle in the Kinara.
The Associated Press and The Skanner staff
Published: 26 December 2013

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are sending those celebrating Kwanzaa their hopes for a prosperous and healthy new year.

The Obamas are calling attention to Kwanzaa's seven principles, which include unity, creativity, faith and self-determination. They say each principle represents the essence of the holiday, but also represents shared values that draw Americans together.

They're sending their best wishes to families and communities in the U.S. who are coming together to light the candle holder, called a Kinara, that's used to celebrate Kwanzaa.

The seven-day African-American holiday starts Thursday.

Maulana Karenga, a professor of Africana Studies, created Kwanzaa in 1966-1967, “to introduce and reinforce seven basic values of African culture.”

Starting on Dec. 26, each day celebrates one of these seven values, called the Nguzo Saba which in Swahili means the Seven Principles.

The principles as written by Karenga are:

Umoja or Unity: To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.

Kujichagulia or Self-Determination: To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.

Ujima or Collective Work and Responsibility: To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers' and sisters' problems our problems, and to solve them together.

Ujamaa or Cooperative Economics: To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.

Nia or Purpose: To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.

Kuumba or Creativity: To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.

Imani or Faith: To believe with all our hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

Celebrate Kwanzaa in Portland:

Sat, Dec 28, 
noon to 2 p.m.

at the North Portland Library, 512 N Killingsworth St, Portland

Come celebrate "Ujima," collective work and responsibility.


Or also on Sat. Dec. 28, from 3 to 6 p.m. at New Columbia Community Education Center, 4625 N. Trenton

Portland, Oregon 

Call 503- 460-9324


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