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Local arts center hosting Kwanzaa multi-day event for the residents

In observance of the worldwide celebration of African-American culture, ArtsXchange sponsors the Kommunity Kwanzaa Expo

Kwanzaa is right around the corner and here’s why you should care.

The annual week-long celebration is observed worldwide and while it obviously has strong roots in African culture, it was actually created right here in the U.S. by professor, author, and political activist, Maulana Karenga.

Many people also do not know that the seeds of this relatively-new holiday sprung up out of political activism during the height of the civil rights movement in 1966, as a way for black Americans to find some way to reconnect to their African heritage. The holiday of Kwanzaa is based on seven core principles called Nguzo Saba.

That’s exactly what local artist, Kenneth Zakee aspires to do later this month with the 1st Annual Community Kwanzaa Expo at the ArtsXchange - East Point.

While thousands around the city acknowledge the traditions every year, Zakee is looking to have the Kwanzaa Expo become something of a perennial fixture to the City of East Point as well as the Southside.

“That was Kwanzaa is a celebration of our culture. It’s not be confused with a Black Christmas, Zakee said in his interview with My East Point News, “Nor is it to be confused with being religious. Because it is not any of those things.”

The holiday always starts on Wednesday, Dec. 26, the day right after Christmas and runs through New Years Day, Jan. 1. Kwanzaa also utilities a special candleholder to help signify the passing of each day, much like the menorah used in the Jewish holiday, Hanukkah.

The candleholder for the Kwanzaa celebration is called a kinara and each candle is typically either red, black or green after the colors of the Pan-African flag.

The seven candles represent the following seven principles of Kwanzaa:

         •      Umoja (Unity)

         •      Kujichagulia (Self-Determination)

         •      Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)

         •      Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)

         •      Nia (Purpose)

         •      Kuumba (Creativity)

         •      Imani (Faith)

Zakee along with the rest of the staff at ArtsXchange are hopeful for a good turnout for this event.

The first day of celebration will be a pre-Kwanzaa event that will begin on Dec. 22 from 12 pm - 8 pm and is completely free of charge to the public although donations are appreciated. at the ArtsXchange at 2148 Newnan St, East Point.

For more information about the event, visit their website.

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