By Sandi P. Beason
TUPELO – A community-wide celebration was held at Lane Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church on Sunday, the second day of Kwanzaa.
“It's a celebration of African-American culture,” said Amanda McCoy, chairwoman for the Delta Sigma Theta Kwanzaa committee. “It starts after Christmas. We try to renew our knowledge of our heritage and take pride in that.”
During the ceremony, a candle was lit for each of the seven principals to live by, she said.
“This is not a religious celebration,” she said. “It's not replacing Christmas. It's a cultural celebration. You don't have to be African-American to celebrate Kwanzaa. Anybody can come to learn more about it.”
Kwanzaa is an African-American and Pan-African holiday which celebrates family, community and culture. Celebrated from Dec. 26 through Jan. 1, its origins are in the first harvest celebrations of Africa from which it takes its name.
The name Kwanzaa is derived from the phrase “matunda ya kwanza” which means “first fruits” in Swahili, a Pan-African language which is the most widely spoken African language.
During the celebration at Lane Chapel, the “Angels of Promise” girls group from New Providence Baptist Church performed, along with a group from Lane Chapel. Annie Richardson, Jacqueline Jennings and Adrian Brim performed individually.
“We can make it because that's something we've got to have – self determination,” said Richardson during a monologue on “Kukichagulia,” or self determination.
The seven principles celebrated are: Umoja (unity), Kukichagulia (self-determination), Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa (cooperative economics), Nia (purpose), Kuumba (creativity), and Imani (faith).
“Brown faces like ours are popping up all over America,” Brim said. “I believe not only that we can rise but that we will rise. Let's raise the roof because we still have work to do.”