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KWANZAA CELEBRATIONS HAVE BEGUN

Dec. 27, 2001 – Across the territory, families are celebrating Kwanzaa.
"It's important to us and our heritage," said Laurel Hewitt-Sewer of St. John, who celebrates the Dec. 26 through Jan. 1 observance with her husband, Oswin, and her children, Oswin Jr., 16, and Zaid, 10.
Hewitt-Sewer finds it important to pass her belief system and information about the family's African heritage along to her children. "It's also to celebrate our culture," she said, noting that it is a time for families to be together.
She and her family try to practice the seven principles of Kwanzaa, called Nguzo Saba, throughout the year, she said. There is one principle for each day of the week-long observance.
According to www.theholidayspot.com, the principles are:
Umoja, or "unity," which stresses the importance of togetherness for the family and the community, as reflected in the African saying "I am we," or "I am because we are."
Kujichagulia, or "self-determination," requiring that African-Americans define common interests and make decisions that are in the best interest of family and community.
Ujima, or "collective work and responsibility," reminding those celebrating Kwanzaa that they have obligations to the past, present and future and that they have a role to play in the community, society and the world.
Ujamaa, or "cooperative economics," emphasizing collective economic strength and encourages meeting common needs through mutual support.
Nia, or "purpose," encouraging African-Americans to look within themselves and to set personal goals beneficial to the community.
Kuumba, or "creativity," making use of creative energies to build and maintain a strong and vibrant community.
Imani, or "faith," which focuses on honoring the best of African-American traditions. It pushes for a higher level of life by affirming self-worth and confidence in the ability of African-Americans to succeed and triumph.
Kwanzaa, which means "first fruits of the harvest" in the African language Kiswahili, was founded in 1966 by California graduate student Maulana Karenga. Disturbed by the 1965 riots in the Watts area of Los Angeles, he decided that African-Americans needed an annual event to celebrate their common differences rather than the melting pot.
A Kwanzaa highlight is the Karumu feast, traditionally held on Dec. 31.
On Friday at 10 a.m., the Friends of the St. Thomas Libraries will hold a Kwanzaa celebration for children at the Enid M.Baa Library. The program will include a ceremony with the lighting of the Kwanzaa candles, drumming, storytelling and arts and crafts. For more information, call 777-3579.

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Dec. 27, 2001 - Across the territory, families are celebrating Kwanzaa.
"It's important to us and our heritage," said Laurel Hewitt-Sewer of St. John, who celebrates the Dec. 26 through Jan. 1 observance with her husband, Oswin, and her children, Oswin Jr., 16, and Zaid, 10.
Hewitt-Sewer finds it important to pass her belief system and information about the family's African heritage along to her children. "It's also to celebrate our culture," she said, noting that it is a time for families to be together.
She and her family try to practice the seven principles of Kwanzaa, called Nguzo Saba, throughout the year, she said. There is one principle for each day of the week-long observance.
According to www.theholidayspot.com, the principles are:
- Umoja, or "unity," which stresses the importance of togetherness for the family and the community, as reflected in the African saying "I am we," or "I am because we are."
- Kujichagulia, or "self-determination," requiring that African-Americans define common interests and make decisions that are in the best interest of family and community.
- Ujima, or "collective work and responsibility," reminding those celebrating Kwanzaa that they have obligations to the past, present and future and that they have a role to play in the community, society and the world.
- Ujamaa, or "cooperative economics," emphasizing collective economic strength and encourages meeting common needs through mutual support.
- Nia, or "purpose," encouraging African-Americans to look within themselves and to set personal goals beneficial to the community.
- Kuumba, or "creativity," making use of creative energies to build and maintain a strong and vibrant community.
- Imani, or "faith," which focuses on honoring the best of African-American traditions. It pushes for a higher level of life by affirming self-worth and confidence in the ability of African-Americans to succeed and triumph.
Kwanzaa, which means "first fruits of the harvest" in the African language Kiswahili, was founded in 1966 by California graduate student Maulana Karenga. Disturbed by the 1965 riots in the Watts area of Los Angeles, he decided that African-Americans needed an annual event to celebrate their common differences rather than the melting pot.
A Kwanzaa highlight is the Karumu feast, traditionally held on Dec. 31.
On Friday at 10 a.m., the Friends of the St. Thomas Libraries will hold a Kwanzaa celebration for children at the Enid M.Baa Library. The program will include a ceremony with the lighting of the Kwanzaa candles, drumming, storytelling and arts and crafts. For more information, call 777-3579.