HARRISBURG, PA -- The public was invited to celebrate African-American culture during the annual Kwanzaa Celebration hosted by the Governor's Advisory Commission on African American Affairs and the PA Council on the Arts.
Kwanzaa, started in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, is a week-long, African-American observance held from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1. It is not a religious tradition, but a cultural one, based on various elements of the first harvest celebrations widely celebrated in Africa. Each day focuses on a different value meant to reinforce family, community and culture.
Because this celebration feall on the fourth day of Kwanzaa, the value of ujamaa — a Swahili word that means cooperative economics— was observed. Awards were given to people nominated for exemplifying the value of ujamaa. This year's honorees were Julie Ward, owner of Basic Steps Daycare Center in Harrisburg; Dr. James Henderson, founder and CEO of BVFR & Associates, LLC, a financial services and investment bank with offices in Harrisburg and Baltimore; and Adewole and Bukola Adeniyi, owners of A.C.I. Market in Harrisburg. Diane Crawford, Diversity and Inclusion manager for the Hershey Company, was the the special honoree this year.
There was African drum and dance, spoken word and singing along with the tradition of lighting the kinara. The event was held to break down cultural barriers and show inclusiveness through this celebration.