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Everett Lights Kinara in Celebration of Kwanzaa

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  The City of Everett recently hosted the first annual Kwanzaa Celebration at the Connolly Center. To conclude the City of Everett’s celebration of the holiday season and as part of Mayor Carlo DeMaria’s “Everett For Everyone” initiative, community members and elected officials joined together to celebrate Kwanzaa.

  Kwanzaa is the seven-day festival observed from December 26 to January 1 as a celebration of African cultural heritage and values. Each day consists of lighting the kinara where each candle represents a different principle to discuss with others. The seven principles of Kwanzaa are Umoja – Unity, Kujichagulia – Self-determination, Ujima – Collective work and responsibility, Ujamaa – Cooperative economics, Nia – Purpose, Kuumba – Creativity, and Imani – Faith. The holiday culminates in a large feast called Karamu where participants decorate the table with ears of corn and seasonal fruits and drink from the unity cup to honor their ancestors.

  The City of Everett’s Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion kicked off the evening by welcoming all who attended, introduced the performers and shared one of her poems later in the event.

  Attendees were treated to many talented performers throughout the event. Vocalist Janey David was first to perform with the singing of the Black National Anthem. Uprising Dance Theatre performed the African Drum Call and continued playing music and danced throughout the ceremony. De Ama Battle from the Art of Black Dance & Music gave attendees the history of Kwanzaa. Big Redd’s House treated the audience to jazz music. Aashka Dance Company stunned the crowd with their fantastic choreography.

  The ceremony culminated in lighting the kinara and libations led by Dorothy Gomez and Uprising Dance Theatre. Gomez lit each of the seven candles while each principle was observed.

  After the ceremony, all who attended were welcome to enjoy a delicious meal complete with delicious offerings like soup joumou.

  Mayor DeMaria would like to thank all the attendees, performers and those who put together the celebration for the community.

All the candles on the kinara were lit in celebration of the seven principles of Kwanzaa.
Ward 6 Councillor Al Lattanzi (center) alongside members of Uprising Dance Theatre
Gift bags were handed out to young attendees after the celebration concluded.
After the ceremony, attendees were invited to enjoy some delicious food.
Elected officials, City of Everett employees and performers are shown in front of the stage at the Connolly Center.
The Connolly Center was packed with community members for the Kwanzaa Celebration.
Aashka Dance Company performed for attendees.
Dorothy “Dotty” Gomez lit each candle on the kinara.
Big Redd’s House performed.
Uprising Dance Theatre and Art of Black Dance & Music performed for attendees and taught everyone about the history of Kwanzaa.
Vocalist Janey David performed the Black National Anthem.
The City of Everett’s Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Cathy Draine, welcomed attendees and read one of her poems at the event.

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