KWANZAA celebrated at Beachwood City Schools
Kwanzaa is a Celebration of the African-American culture through December 26-January 1. Keeping with this tradition is something that administrator Carolyn Farley enjoys doing in the Beachwood School System in Beachwood, OH. Although the children are home on winter break during the start of the Kwanzaa season, that did not stop the pre-festivities at Beachwood. On December 17, Beachwood teachers Carolyn Farley and Jason Hill organized a “Harambee” Pre-Kwanzaa Celebration with the Beachwood Scholars at Beachwood Middle School. Supporting this phenomenal event and providing food were students of all backgrounds, parents, Mrs. Farley’s family, the Beachwood BOE, administrators, teachers, and Diversity Matters in Beachwood. The students engaged in activities such as instrument playing (especially drum playing), Kwanzaa literature, food, singing and more. All in attendance sang in unison the Black National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” by James Weldon Johnson. Kwanzaa centers around the seven principles of Kwanzaa, as determined by Maulana Karenga who created Kwanzaa, are umoja (unity), kujichagulia (self-determination), ujima (collective work and responsibility), ujamaa (cooperative economics), nia (purpose), kuumba (creativity) and imani (faith). Kwanzaa also has seven symbols–mazao (crops), mkeka (mat), kinara (candleholder), muhindi (corn), kikombe cha umoja (unity cup), zawadi (gifts) and mishumaa saba. Seven candles are traditionally arranged on a table and three of the seven candles are red, representing the struggle; three of the candles are green, representing the land and hope for the future; and one of the candles is black, representing people of African descent. Some people or families who celebrate Kwanzaa dress up or decorate their homes in those colors. This was a great event before winter break to reflect and embrace friends, family, community, culture and diversity!