Free Kwanzaa Celebration at Malcolm X College Starts Today

Malcolm X College has a strong history of celebrating Kwanzaa and for more than 17 years. This year’s celebration theme is Building and Sustaining Community One Principle at a Time.

The no cost event will open to the public from 10 a.m. until 2:00 pm on Tuesday, Dec. 26 and continue through Jan. 1, 2024 with the same hours. A procession and drum call will be held at noon on Dec. 26 to kick off the event program.

“This celebration of Kwanzaa teaches us that when we come together and honor the lessons of the past, we can ready ourselves to face the future with confidence and joy,” said President David Sanders, Malcolm X College. “Kwanzaa is an integral part of the culture of Malcolm X College and we are proud to host this event.  We hope that everyone takes advantage of this weeklong event and celebrate the history, the importance and the historical significance of Kwanzaa.”   

The event celebrating Kwanzaa is free and open to the public and all will enjoy live performances and shopping, courtesy of local artisans. Items for sale include handmade and exquisite jewelry, African clothing, art, specialty soaps and candles, more.  Performances will be given by the following: Najwa Dance Corps, Muntu Dance, Move Me Soul, Theophilus Reed, and Tony Carpenter.

“As we celebrate Kwanzaa, we are reminded of the wisdom of the African Proverb: ‘If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.’ we are deeply thankful for the community we serve and look forward to our continued growth. Kwanzaa is not only a celebration but also our recommitment to journeying far together.”

This event will be held on the first floor of Malcolm X College, located at 1900 W. Jackson Street in Chicago. Free parking with validation is available in Malcolm X College’s parking deck which can be accessed from Jackson Street.

Kwanza is an annual celebration of African-American culture that is held from December 26 to January 1. It was created by Maulana Karenga and is rooted in the  African Harvest festival traditions from various countries. Kwanzaa was first celebrated in 1966 and celebrates the seven principles of Kwanzaa, or Nguzo Saba. These seven principles comprise Kawaida, a Swahili word meaning “common philosophy.”

Each of the seven days of Kwanzaa is dedicated to one of the principles, as follows:

  • Umoja (Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
  • Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): To define and name ourselves, as well as to create and speak for ourselves.
  • Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems and to solve them together.
  • Ujamaa (Cooperative economics): To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
  • Nia (Purpose): To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
  • Kuumba (Creativity): To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
  • Imani (Faith): To believe with all our hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

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