GREEN BAY – Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes will be the keynote speaker Saturday at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s annual community Kwanzaa celebration.
Since 1997, UWGB has held an annual event for the weeklong celebration for students before the end of the fall semester. This year it is back to an in-person event after it was virtual last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The event is open to the campus as well people in the Green Bay area. Registration can be found online.
“Kwanzaa is a celebratory holiday that is traditional for African Americans based on African principles, it is not a religious holiday and it can be celebrated by all as it is just seeking to honor the traditions and the culture of African Americans in this country,” said Miriam Brabham, one of the organizers of the celebration and multicultural student success manager for the Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs (MESA) Office at UWGB.
MORE: From Umoja to Imani, Kwanzaa has ‘won the hearts and minds of African people around the world’
The celebrations will open with a traditional libation ceremony, where water is poured to give respect to ancestors and pray for well wishes for the new year.
Every year’s theme and keynote speaker are chosen based on one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa, and this year’s is on Ujamaa, or cooperative economics. Barnes will be speaking this year.
Brabham said having Barnes at the event will encourage students to become professionals in the area.
“They will be able to see that this event can be more and that our community goes beyond just Green Bay,” she said.
A community meal will be served and the event will have live entertainment.
Kwanzaa, which starts on Dec. 26 and ends Jan. 1, was created in 1966 by Maulana Karenga to reaffirm African Americans’ roots in African culture. At the end of the week, families join to have a community feast.
A different value is celebrated every night of the week.
The seven values of Kwanzaa are:
- Umoja, or unity
- Kujichagulia, or self-determination
- Ujima, or collective work and responsibility
- Ujamaa, cooperative economics
- Nia, or purpose
- Kuumba, or creativity
- Imani, or faith
The event will be between 5 and 7 p.m. Saturday in the Phoenix Rooms at the University Union at UW-Green Bay.
Contact Benita Mathew at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @benita_mathew.
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