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UCONN Celebrates Kwanzaa
an article by Victoria Johansen

I joined students from across the University of Connecticut campus on Friday December 3, 2004 to celebrate Kwanzaa. The African American Cultural Center and the Womenís Center sponsored the event that featured UCONNís Voices of Freedom Gospel Choir, a ceremonial lighting of the candles by students, and guest speaker Nikki Giovanni.

Kwanzaa is an African American holiday that started in the 1960ís to reinforce values of the African culture into their society. On this day, African Americans promote unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith within their communities.

The highlight of the evening was poet, commentator, and activist Nikki Giovanniís keynote speech as she sparked the roomís interest by discussing problems and solutions facing African American students. Giovanniís speech covered many things from slavery to Condoleezza Rice and from Martin Luther King to NASA. The most interesting part of her address that many students could relate to was her analogy of slaves from Africa coming to the United States and their feelings of loss and fear of going to an unknown place with an unknown language to going to Mars. Any student, black or white, can understand better the treatment that slaves encountered on their voyages to America by thinking of how they would feel being packed onto a space shuttle and sent to Mars. Her charismatic and energetic speech was very motivational for many students that feel the everyday struggles of being African American.

The celebration ended with a feast of fried chicken, collard greens, and corn bread for dinner as we all talked about the marvelous speech from Giovanni and how it related to our lives. The Kwanzaa celebration had a magnificent turn out and an invigorating message. I am excited to go again next year!

For more information on Kwanzaa, go here.

DISCUSSION

Question(s) related to this article:


How important is community development for a culture of peace?,

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Latest reader comment:

Community plays a important role in developing culture peace. We should promote our cultural values by interacting with each other and making these values part of our daily lives. A good example of this would be raising our children according to beliefs and values which are important for us and our cultural peace. We can also promote cultural peace by making small commuinties within big community and share different ideas and bring new ones in.


This report was posted on December 4, 2004.