Kwanzaa founder, Dr. Maulana Karenga has released the following statement celebrating the 50th anniversary of Kwanzaa.
The 50th anniversary of the pan-African holiday, Kwanzaa, of necessity brings added focus and emphasis on its customary call for remembrance, reflection and recommitment. We remember our history and the legacies left and the people who made and left them for us and the world. We reflect on the expansive meaning of being African in the world, on the context and issues of our times, and on our way forward in struggle to forge a future responsive to our needs and interests as well as those of the world. And we recommit ourselves to our highest values, to our most anchoring, elevating and liberating practices, and as ever to the good of our people and the well-being of the world.
At this historical milestone and marker, it is good to remember and reflect on the origins of Kwanzaa, not only in the ancient African festivals of harvest and shared good, but also its origins in the relentless and righteous struggles of the Sixties, i.e., the Black Freedom Movement for freedom, justice, equality, and power of our people over their destiny and daily lives. For deeply embedded and ever-present in the celebration of Kwanzaa and the practice of its founding principles, the Nguzo Saba, is the constant call for and commitment to striving and struggling. Here, I use striving and struggling interchangeably, with the meaning being exerting great and focused effort to achieve, excel and advance. For the struggle, as we imagined and waged it and continue to do so, is not only to defy and defeat the oppressor, but also to overturn ourselves, removing from ourselves the legacy of oppression, clearing social space in which we can live, love, work, build and relate freely, and striving diligently then to come into the fullness of ourselves.
On this 50th anniversary celebration of Kwanzaa, it is only right and appropriate that we pay rightful homage to those who brought us to this good and beautiful point. First, we offer sacred water and words first to our ancestors, ancient and modern, for the culture they created, the battles they fought, the lessons they taught, the legacies they left and the ways they opened for us.
Read more: 50th Anniversary Founder’s Kwanzaa Statement