Posted by Scott Plakun on Jan 11, 2024
Dan Joraanstad and Maurice RiversA dozen Rotarians participated in a Kwanzaa celebration on December 29 at an annual community event sponsored by the OMI Cultural Participation Project and organized by the Executive Director of OMI-CPP, Club member Maurice Rivers.
We learned that Kwanzaa is an African-American holiday based on traditional harvest festivals held in Africa. It is focused on teaching children important values while giving respect to ancestors. Each of the seven days of the Kwanzaa holiday focuses on a different principle, identified in Swahili:
  1. Umoja - Unity
  2. Kujichagulia - Self-Determination
  3. Ujima - Collective Work and Responsibility
  4. Ujamaa - Cooperative Economics
  5. Nia - Purpose
  6. Kuumba - Creativity
  7. Imani – Faith
The evening started with a Libation Ceremony, where a member of the community poured liquid into a Unity Cup while thanking his African ancestors and encouraging us all to remember and thank our own ancestors.
Children participated in the lighting of the candles.
As this was the fourth night, speakers addressed the principle of Cooperative Economics, explaining how important it is for members of the community to establish small businesses – and for community members to patronize those businesses.
After the ceremony, we enjoyed performances by talented dancers and musicians.
Last, but not least, a sumptuous buffet dinner was served, featuring shrimp and grits, sautéed pork, roast turkey and chicken, meatloaf, chicken wings, stewed vegetables, mashed potatoes, gravy, and more.
Among those in attendance were Rotarians Ozan Yasavur, Scott Plakun, and Alisha Marfatia.
We’ll be back next year. I hope more Club members will come and enjoy this wonderful experience!