published Tuesday, December 25th, 2012

Chattanooga church's Kwanzaa celebration set for Saturday

To mark Kwanzaa, candles are lit in a specific pattern, signifying the day of the celebration and the principle behind each day.
To mark Kwanzaa, candles are lit in a specific pattern, signifying the day of the celebration and the principle behind each day.
IF YOU GO

What: Annual Kwanzaa celebration

When: 4 p.m. Saturday

Where: Union Hill Missionary Baptist Church, 1800 N. Chamberlain Ave.

Young people may not know the struggle that older blacks endured for civil rights, Jessica Moore says, and she wants to talk to youths about their history and culture.

Moore is co-host of Union Hill's sixth annual Kwanzaa celebration, and she invites youths as well as adults to attend the event Saturday.

The world seems to be more color blind in some ways, yet there is hostility toward minority voters, Moore said. Recently there have been complaints that new voter identification laws prohibited some people from casting their ballots.

And if young people are unaware of the civil rights struggle, they likely will be unaware of how voter ID laws could limit hard-won voting rights, said Moore.

Charlaine F. Price, a local licensed professional counselor, will be the main speaker at Saturday's celebration. The event will focus on celebrating family, community and culture. People will light candles, choirs and soloists will sing and a feast will be served.

The program will include teaching about the seven principals of Kwanzaa: unity (Umoja), self-determination (Kujichagulia), collective work and responsibility (Ujima), cooperative economics (Ujamaa), purpose (Nia), creativity (Kuumba) and faith (Imani).

The celebration, founded in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, is a seven-day event that starts on Wednesday and ends Jan. 1. It is celebrated by millions throughout the world African community, according to the officialkwanzaawebsite.org.

Families are encouraged to focus on a different principle of Kwanzaa for each day of the celebration.

Carolyn Lewis, 73, started the Kwanzaa celebration at Union Hill church six years ago. She hosted it at the Elks Club for 15 years before that.

Celebrating Christmas can get expensive even though it's supposed to be more spiritual, said Lewis. Kwanzaa gives people opportunity to focus on their culture and family without as much commercialism. It encourages people to celebrate their history and to establish cultural family traditions if they don't already have them, she said.

about Yolanda Putman...

Yolanda Putman has been a reporter at the Times Free Press for 11 years. She covers housing and previously covered education and crime. Yolanda is a Chattanooga native who has a master’s degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Alabama State University. She previously worked at the Lima (Ohio) News. She enjoys running, reading and writing and is the mother of one son, Tyreese. She has also ...

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