A Dear Friends Message
MOUNT VERNON, NY — December 26, 2019 — For over a half-century, African Americans have come together in observance of Kwanzaa, a seven-day celebration of the principles at the core of our heritage and culture. Through family and community gatherings, we study and uphold the Ngozo Saba, or ‘seven principles of African Heritage’, Umoja–Unity, Kujichagulia–Self Determination, Ujima–Collective Work and Responsibility, Ujamaa–Cooperative Economics, Nia–Purpose, Kuumba–Creativity and Imani–Faith.
Each of Kwanzaa’s seven days is dedicated to one unique principle to ensure that by observing the holiday, people of African descent are also building and preserving culture, and passing it on to the next generation. Kwanzaa provides us with the opportunity for both self-definition and self-determination.
For those that celebrate, I wish you a Happy Kwanzaa, filled with the wonder of discovery, pride and purpose. May the festival draw you closer to loved ones and renew your commitments to upholding your heritage and uplifting your community. I hope that reflecting on each principle leads to wisdom and understanding that underscores the need for unity and shared goals.
The spirit of activism and pride that birthed Kwanzaa still empowers Black people around the world. It is both an acknowledgement of our resilience in the face of oppression and contributions to the global society. We stand in solidarity with the struggles of the past, our current collective challenges, and dreams for the future.
Together, we move forward purposefully towards a brighter tomorrow.
Shawyn Patterson-Howard, Mount Vernon Mayor-Elect