Annual Seven-day Celebration of Kwanzaa Is About to Begin

As Christmas approaches in less than a week, event planners are gearing up for celebrations and religious services that will finish out 2017 and launch the New Year.During the annual seven-day celebration of Kwanzaa, Dec. 26-Jan. 1, many events are designed to draw people out of their homes for community-based activities.Pan-African Connection Book Store, Art Gallery and Resource Center, a popular site that attracts Kwanzaa observers, already has a full slate of activities scheduled to begin the day after Christmas, the traditional Kwanzaa kickoff. Pan-African is at 4466 S. Marsalis Ave. in Glendale Shopping Center in Dallas. To learn more, visit,, email, or call 214-943-8262.Kwanzaa is a celebration in which African-Americans pay homage to their African heritage. On each of the seven days, celebrants light a candle and hold an event honoring one of central principles from African culture — unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith.Here's an overview of nightly Kwanzaa activities planned at Pan-African Connection. Each evening will begin with a candle-lighting ceremony.Tuesday (unity)1 p.m.: Create African-themed gifts that promote unity during a free workshop.7 p.m.: Poetry, skits and African dancing by youth, plus a speaker to be announced.Dec. 27 (self-determination)1 p.m.: Arts and crafts for children, plus skits promoting self-determination.7 p.m.: The Rev. Clarence Glover will portray the character "Professor Freedom," who will instruct kids in lessons from African culture and will read children a holiday book.Music, drumming and African dancing also are planned.Dec. 28 (collective work and responsibility)1 p.m.: Instructor Sis Katanga will lead children in making African musical instruments.7 p.m.: A tribute to Paul Robeson will include music and a film about his life, The Tallest Tree in Our Forest.Dec. 29 (cooperative economics)2-9 p.m. Activities will include children making cloth, storytelling, a mixer for business owners and entrepreneurs, and a discussion about reparations.Dec. 30 (purpose)1 and 3 p.m.: Children's arts and crafts will be followed by a panel discussion for young adults about the importance of the extended family and co-parenting. A toys and books drive are scheduled.From 2 to 3 p.m. at a separate location — the South Dallas Cultural Center, 3400 Fitzhugh Ave. — the African drum and dance ensemble Bandan Koro will teach a free dance. Creative projects for kids also are planned. To learn more, call 214-671-1998.Dec. 31 (creativity)2 p.m.: A video tribute to Amy Jacques Garvey, the second wife of and chronicler of the life of black nationalism proponent Marcus Garvey. A discussion and community drum circle will follow.Jan. 1 (faith)The day is devoted to private celebrations among families, groups and individuals.ABOUT TOWN: The Dallas Peace and Justice Center, the Red Path Warriors Society — an American Indian veterans group — and the Society of Native Nations will co-host "Holiday Season Potluck and Mini Pow-Wow." This holiday event and a special board meeting also will include a film, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Grauwyler Recreation Center, 7780 Harry Hines Blvd. To learn more, email Peace and Justice Center also will co-host a free screening of the film Freedom Riders at the First Tuesday Social Justice Film Festival at 7 p.m. Jan. 2 at Unitarian Universalist Church of Oak Cliff, 3839 W. Kiest Blvd. The film chronicles the 1961 movement in which people of various races faced extreme danger as they rode buses through the South to promote integration. A discussion will follow. To learn more, visit the center's Facebook page, go to, or call 682-256-3633.  Continue reading...

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