Kwanzaa was conceptualized during the time when:
Eugene “Bull” Conner ordered his police department to use fire hoses, police attack dogs and night sticks to break up Freedom Riders.
Four young girls, Denise McNair, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Addie Mae Collins were murdered in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, while 22 others were injured.
Three civil rights activists, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwemer were arrested on speeding charges, incarcerated, reported missing by the FBI and later found dead. The three men were simply trying to register people to vote and investigate church bombings.
50 protesters were hospitalized after being tear gassed, whipped and clubbed at Edmund Pettus Bridge in Alabama. The day was so horrific it was dubbed, “Bloody Sunday.”
Residents in Watts, California rebelled against police tyranny, inadequate housing, poor schools and high unemployment. The rebellion lasted 6 days. It resulted in 34 deaths and the military occupation of 14,000 National Guard troops in a 46-mile area.
These atrocities mirror what we see today. Let's use December 26th - January 1st to intentionally REFLECT on critical issues facing our community, REMEMBER the words and wisdom of previous freedom fighters, and RECOMMIT to Black Liberation.Well...I have a confession to make. I've never, in all my years, celebrated Kwanzaa in mixed company, so to speak. And when I made the invitation to this event opened to all I had no idea so many people of other races and nationalities would be interested enough in this African-American holiday to attend...at first it made me a little uncomfortable, I gotta tell ya. Because I, and clearly Miss Barnette as well, have always seen this as a black thing; something that other people-- unless they too were oppressed as well-- just wouldn't be able to fully appreciate. But the more I thought about that the more I realized that I was being presumptuous, something as y'all know I'm prone to rail against. And besides, the more I thought about the principles of Kwanzaa, and viewed them through this mind of mine, one that has been globalized a bit, and through this heart that has befriended and shared intimacies and struggles with a broader range of races and nationalities than that pre-adolescent boy-- the one Kwanzaa was first introduced to-- I can see the principles that govern Kwanzaa-- the Nguzo Saba-- doesn't necessarily need to be exclusive. All stand to benefit from applying these principles to their lives and their communities, and in fact, and not to sound too mushy, or overly optimistic, these principles might potentially bring people closer together much the way other powerful doctrines have expanded beyond their intended target and designed usage. I'd now like to think of Kwanzaa like I think of other creations that have emerged from black hearts and minds. Those that have not only beautified the world and broadened the world's recognition of the artistry of people of African descent, but has uplifted the people who have managed to appreciate these contributions by freeing them from certain misperceptions and ridiculous presumptions about people of color. Particularly those who are capable resisting the inclination to appropriate or denigrate these creations. And it is in that spirit that I'd like to share Kwanzaa with you all today. Thank you all for coming!!
======================Big thanks to everyone who came out and help make this better than I had anticipated. and you can be sure that next year will be even better! Happy Holidays, and a safe and prosperous new year! Love, Loco