Kwanzaa celebration focuses on heritage and community

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Event held at Self Enhancement Inc. in north Portland

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Kwanzaa, the week long annual holiday of African-American heritage, was given a community celebration at Self Enhancement Inc. in north Portland Saturday.

The event recognized the third day of Kwanzaa, called Ujima, which honors collective work and responsibility.

The free gathering included children’s activities, libations, candle-lighting ceremony, ancestral roll call, marketplace, music, poetry and food.

Among the prominent individuals and groups featured were “Mama” Joyce Harris, S. Renee Mitchell, Sebe’ Kan African Dance, Caton Lyles, 503 Sliders and DJ Michael Morris.

The event was put on by City of Portland’s Diverse and Empowered Employees of Portland (DEEP), a volunteer group, and Office of Equity and Human Rights (OEHR).

The holiday was created by Maula Karenga and first celebrated in the U.S. 1966. The seven days of Kwanzaa are celebrated in the week leading up to, and including, New Year’s day.

The seven principles of Kwanzaa are Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsiblity), Ujamma (Cooperative economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity) and Imani (Faith).

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