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Early Kwanzaa Celebration at Hartnell College

December 6th, 2006

Hartnell College Black Student Union presents its 9th annual Kwanzaa celebration on Friday, December 8, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Steinbeck Dining Hall in the Hartnell College Center on Hartnellís main campus. All members of the public are invited.

In addition to a Kwanzaa meal, the evening will include story-telling, poetry, singing, dancing, and drumming, with special performances by Tabia, drumming with Abdulay, and presentations by others.

Kwanzaa is a seven-day cultural celebration during which one of the seven principles, or nguzo saba, is honored each day. The principles are, in English: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith.

Kwanzaa is an African-American and Pan-African holiday, but Hartnellís organizers want to bring the important message that it should be celebrated by everyone.

"One great thing about Kwanzaa is that it is a cultural tradition that reflects the best of African thought and practice in reaffirming the dignity of the human person in community and culture," said Al Grainger, a Hartnell employee and an advisor to the Black Student Union.

"Because of this, we sincerely hope that people from all cultures in our entire community come and celebrate. This is really a time for all of us to share with each other the values of family, community, culture, and our relationship with the environment," Grainger said. "Itís a wonderful event; a joyous occasion."

The Kwanzaa holiday falls from December 26 through January 1. Hartnell will be on winter break then, so the students wanted to get in an early celebration.

On Thursday afternoon, two half-hour workshops will be given for those who are interested to learn more about the cultural tradition that dates back to 1966. From 1 to 1:30 p.m. there will be a workshop on "What is Kwanzaa?" From 1:30 to 2 p.m. there will be a workshop on the Swahili language, spoken throughout East Africa by more than 50 million speakers. Both workshops will be in the College Commons Center, room 116 and are open to the public.

There will be a small charge to cover the costs of food, but students who participate in a Thursday workshop may attend the Friday celebration free.