B.S.U. hosts annual Kwanzaa banquet

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Students join in a dance at last year’s Kwanzaa banquet. Photo by Patricia Gortman.

Bria Hilliard

Asst. Features Editor

Kwanzaa is a weeklong celebration of family, community and culture, celebrated in the African American community in celebration of African heritage.

During this week-long celebration, each day is named after the seven principles of Kwanzaa that is also known as Nguzu Saba, the seven principles of African Heritage. The principles are: Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-determination), Ujima (Collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity), and Imani (Faith).

During the Kwanzaa celebration, families often decorate their homes in colorful African cloth such as kente and make room for beautiful pieces of art that represent the African culture. The Kwanzaa ceremony includes the reading of the African Pledge and the Principles of Blackness, reflection, candle lighting, drumming and musical selections, performances, and, of course, food. Kwanzaa is about coming together to show appreciation for great culture and the foundation of the African American race.

“Kwanzaa is not a holiday that I do not usually celebrate in my household,” Maziel Baez said. “I have always wanted to know more about the celebration and about what it stood for. I am really happy that there is an event like this on campus to shed light on the diversity that surrounds us every day.”

Utica College’s Black Student Union is hosting their 26th annual Kwanzaa Banquet here in the Utica College Library Concourse. The banquet is brought to campus every year to educate students of all races about the culture that surrounds them through keynote speakers, dance/ drumming performances, and amazing food. While there is so much to learn about the African American culture, celebrating Kwanzaa is a great place to begin learning about what makes this culture so unique.

“This year there will be an African dance team all the way from Ghana performing, they performed at a previous banquet that we had and they are currently on a tour of the upstate area and they reached out to us to perform,” Sayyidah Hogue, a member of the Black Student Union, said.

“The menu will be very much similar to last year’s menu; it will consist of traditional soul food i.e., fried chicken, fried fish, collard greens, macaroni and cheese and, of course, everyone’s favorite, corn bread.”

Students from all cultures are invited to come celebrate with B.S.U. for an evening of fun, food, music, and dance.

“It’s a way for the Black Student Union to introduce the campus to a more diverse culture as well as celebrate and educate students about the history of Kwanzaa,” Hogue added.

The banquet will take place in the library concourse on UC’s campus. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the banquet begins at 6 p.m. so be sure to arrive early to get a good seat. The banquet is free for UC students and $20 for non-UC students.

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