San Francisco Celebrates Kwanzaa

By Lee Hubbard

Sitting, left to right: Brotha Clint, Jackie Wright, Malik Senefu; Group, standing at left: Saula Gonzales, Steven Loyd, Deshawna Whitfield; back row: Marlena Younger, Jazmine Thorne, Daizanae Woods; Group, standing at right: Deshun Luckett, Jose Gonzales, Adrian Williams, Exec. Dir of Village Project, Elizabeth Jackson of the Western Addition Family Resource Center; Back row: Johnnae Sanders, Camile Dawkins-Mayor’s office of Neighborhood Services, and Marchel Earden-Smith.

The fifth annual Kwanzaa celebration sponsored by the Village Projec will be taking place Dec. 26 through Jan. 1 throughout San Francisco. In years past, the Village Project’s events took place in the Western Addition area, but according to Adrian Williams, the project’s executive director, Black people throughout the city are feeling a part of the Kwanzaa experience. “Kwanzaa is about family, heritage and culture,” said Williams.  “These things are essential to the survival of the Black community in San Francisco.” This year’s theme, “Uniting to Strengthen Families and Communities,” emphases the importance of the seven principles of Kwanzaa, she said. Created by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966, Kwanzaa is celebrated by more than 30 million people of African descent worldwide, over seven days, from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1. Each of the days of Kwanzaa is dedicated to one of seven basic principles. The Village Project also works with at-risk youth throughout the Western Addition, running an after school program for kids 6-14 and an all-day summer camp for young people. Williams is expecting 500 people to attend the opening Kwanzaa event – Umoja – that will be Sunday, Dec. 26 at the West Bay Conference Center at 1290 Fillmore St.  The event is free and open to the public. There will be food and live entertainment, featuring Blues legend Bobbie Spider Webb and jazz vocalist Lady Mem’fis. “We want to help unite and strengthen the Black community in San Francisco,” said Williams.  “That is what these Kwanzaa celebrations are all about.” Nine different Kwanzaa events scheduled for San Francisco are: Umoja (unity): to strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race. Sunday, Dec. 26th; 6 pm, West Bay Conference Center, 1290 Fillmore St. Kujichagulia (self-determination): define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, speak for ourselves. Monday, Dec. 27; Noon, City Hall, 1 Dr. Goodlett Way; 6 pm, Gussies Chicken & Waffles, 1521Eddy. Ujima (collective work and responsibility): to build and maintain our community together and make our sisters’ and brothers’ problems our own and to solve them together. Tuesday, Dec. 28; 3 p.m., Bayview YMCA/Bayview Library, 1601 Lane St. Ujamaa (cooperative economics): to build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses together. Wednesday, Dec 29; 1 p.m., Buchanan YMCA/WAFRC, 1530 Buchanan; 7 p.m., Minnie & Lovie Rec Center, 650 Capitol St. Nia (purpose): to make our collective vocation the building of our community, to restore our people to their traditional greatness. Thursday, Dec. 30; 6 p.m. Program, African American Arts & Culture Complex, 762 Fulton. Kuumba (creativity): to do as much as we can to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than when we inherited it. Friday, Dec. 31, 1 p.m., The Jazz Heritage Center’s Koret Lobby/Yoshi’s,1330 Fillmore. Imani (faith): to believe with our hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle. Saturday, Jan. 1, 3 p.m., Marcus Book Store, 1712 Fillmore.
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