By Cherri Gregg
CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) – The African American Cultural and Arts Center and Museum in Camden held its 10th annual Kwanzaa Celebration on Monday afternoon to mark the first of the seven principles of the holiday.
“Malcom X! Harriet Tubman! Rosa Parks!”
The crowd responded: “Ashe,” which means “so be it!”
The celebration began with music, an acknowledgment of the elders and a sign of respect to those that have died. There was also a candle lighting ceremony in which the black candle is lit. The candle symbolizes the first principle of Kwanzaa which is umoja or unity.
“When we say unity in this sense, we are talking about our culture, our identity and our nature as a nation within a nation, as a people trying to come up,” says event master of ceremony O’Banion Gordon. Gordon is also known as the Father of Kwanzaa in Camden and says even though Monday’s event focused on the first principle of Kwanzaa, all of the principles are equally important.
“We are talking about the ability to name ourselves, redefine ourselves from some of the myths of slavery and be proud of the ancestral names we have,” says Gordon.
The other principles of Kwanzaa include self-determination, collective work and responsibility, collective economics, purpose, creativity and faith. One principle is celebrated each day from December 26th through January 2nd.