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Sacramento organization honoring Black community members in celebration of Kwanzaa

Each day of Kwanzaa is represented by one of the seven guiding African principles (Nguzo Saba).

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — For the third year, Safe Black Space, a collective of community members of African ancestry advocating and demanding justice in instances of racism and oppression, is honoring and supporting Black families for Kwanzaa.

Kwanzaa is a week-long holiday celebrating African American history, community, values and culture. Each day of Kwanzaa is represented by one of the seven guiding African principles (Nguzo Saba) -- Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity) and Imani (Faith). 

The holiday was created by Dr. Maulana Karenga in California. Kwanzaa means "first fruits" in Swahili.

"It's this idea of what we're reproducing and creating and manifesting for ourselves and our children and the generations before us," said Dr. Kristee Haggins, the executive director and founder of Safe Black Space. 

The week-long celebration, which starts on Dec. 26 and ends on Jan. 1, consists of reflecting on the past year and setting intentions for the next, embracing the seven guiding principles, honoring ancestors, and giving gifts (Zawadi). Each night, a candle is lit on the Kinara and people discuss the Nguzo Saba. On the final day of Kwanzaa, families enjoy a feast (Karamu).

From now through Dec. 16, Safe Black Space is seeking nominations of Black families or individuals who demonstrate one of the principles of Kwanzaa. 

Nominees must identify as Black (of African ancestry) and live in the Greater Sacramento area. Seven families or individuals will be selected and honored at the third annual Kwanzaa Kutoa event at Unity of Sacramento on Jan. 1, 2023.

"The idea is we're connecting and supporting Black folks who may be in need or would appreciate a little extra support right now, as well as connecting with values that are congruent or culturally aligned with who we are," Haggins said. "Maybe there's been a recent loss in the family... and this particular core figure in the family is the one keeping everyone together and unified during the holidays. That would be Umoja, or Unity."

Haggins said need in the community has been and continues to be "mighty and broad." This year, she said honorees will be able to receive support in ways that are most applicable to their personal needs, such as through gift cards, food, clothes and more. If you would like to help, Safe Black Space is accepting donations now. You can donate HERE.

If you wish to nominate someone who you believe embodies one of the seven guiding principles, you can do so HERE. Those selected to be honored will be contacted no later than Dec. 23.

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