The annual Kwanzaa ceremony at UW-Green Bay, Saturday (Dec.5), brought campus and community together for two hours of fellowship and celebration.
Created in 1966 by Ron Karenga and celebrated from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1, Kwanzaa is an African-American celebration based on the tradition of the African harvest festival. The celebration brings together the traditional African values of family, community responsibility, commerce and self-improvement.
These principles emphasize unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.
Kwanzaa may have its roots in the tradition of an African harvest festival, but its guiding principles are universal, said Assistant Professor Tohoro Francis Akakpo, who served as keynote speaker for the University celebration.
Akakpo, who teaches social work at UW-Green Bay and has degrees from the University of Benin in Togo, West Africa, as well as the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, said many of Kwanzaa’s principles were also important to America’s founders.
“Kwanzaa call upon us to be united … Kwanzaa calls on us to be responsible to ourselves and our community.” Akakpo said.
Saturday’s celebration also featured entertainment for the Green Bay-based Nia African Dancers and song from the Youth Gospel Choir of the Divine Temple of God in Christ.
About 75 people attended the celebration, which was sponsored by the Office of Student Life and the American Intercultural Center.
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A ‘Joyous Kwanzaa’ for Shawn Robinson
There was a touching personal moment during Saturday’s Kwanzaa celebration on the UW-Green Bay campus. Multicultural Advisor Shawn Robinson went to bended knee to propose marriage to girlfriend Inshirah Grimes of Cleveland. She said ‘yes.’