Skip to comments.U. NE Omaha celebrates Kwanza ("It's important to get away from fat white man bringing gifts")
Posted on 12/07/2004 7:07:51 PM PST by churchillbuff
During the holiday season, many people are so busy rushing around worrying about buying gifts, getting the best deal and running over anyone in their path that they tend to forget what they are celebrating.
On Thursday, UNO hosted its ninth annual Kwanzaa luncheon in the Milo Bail Student Center Ballroom.
Keynote speaker Saidi J. Liwaru stressed the importance of Kwanzaa as an African American holiday as well as a Pan-African holiday. Kwanzaa is a time for knowing one's roots while bettering one's culture.
Liwaru is the host of the Real Solutions television program. He said that the timing of Kwanzaa -Dec. 26 through Jan. 1- is the perfect time to connect and look what is going on around in one's environment.
It is important, "to get away from the belief of a fat white man bringing gifts to poor kids in the ghetto," Liwaru said. "Parents are lying to their kids. We're thinking of gifts. We're thinking of snow and ho-ho-ho, but (we need to get away from that). When you're celebrating Kwanzaa, you start to think of buying this child a gift that would better represent black culture."
A relatively young holiday, Kwanzaa was created in 1966 while in of the midst of African liberation and is celebrated by millions throughout the world. Its purpose is to reaffirm the community vision and values of African culture while bettering the lives of Africans. It begins with Africans in America, expanding into the global African community.
Kwanzaa comes from the philosophy of Kawaida, a cultural nationalist philosophy that argues that Africans must bring forth the best of their culture to be models of human excellence, enriching and expanding the lives of their people.
One of the misconceptions of Kwanzaa is that people must chose between Kwanzaa, Christmas and Chanukah during the season. It is very possible to celebrate Kwanzaa and Christmas at the same time. Much like one would celebrate St. Patrick's Day -an Irish cultural holiday- during Lent, one can celebrate Kwanzaa and Christmas.
Other people can celebrate it as embracing another culture. While it is focused on African and African American enrichment, Kwanzaa can benefit all people by showcasing its culture to those who do not know much about it. Just as there are large celebrations for Cinco de Mayo with many non-Mexicans, Kwanzaa is open to be appreciated by other cultures as well. There are rituals to Kwanzaa that are not meant for an audience, but rather its designated celebrants.
The holiday has a message for all peoples, but it is deeply rooted in African culture, speaking to the world.
A line from www.TheOfficialKwanzaaWebsite.com said, "Any particular message that is good for a particular people, it is human in its content and ethical in its grounding, speaks not just to that people, it speaks to the world."
The term Kwanzaa comes from the phrase, "matunda ya kwanza" which means "first fruits."
On the seventh day of Kwanzaa, -Jan. 1- a time of reflection is had. It is period of self-reflection and a recommitment to the highest cultural values in a special way. Following in the tradition, it is then time to ask and answer, soberly and humbly the three Kawaida questions: Who am I; am I really who I say I am; and am I all I ought to be?
Kwanzaa is filled with a great deal of symbolism and deep cultural connection that can only be had by seeking more information.
Liwaru is the father of Sharif Z. Liwaru, the Cultural Awareness Adviser for the Student Organizations and Leadership Programs Office. Sharif gave the opening remarks for the lunch. Jeff Epting was the host of the event. Epting is the Social Action Chair of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc.
After the keynote address, a somewhat culturally diverse audience of nearly 50 people enjoyed a meal of fried chicken, greens, cornbread, pumpkin pie and macaroni and cheese.
Following the meal, a candle lighting ceremony took place representative of Kwanzaa's seven principles: unity; self-determination; collective work and responsibility; cooperative economics; purpose; creativity; and faith.
Sharif Liwaru closed the event that brought unity amongst the African American community and allowed those of non-Africans decent a chance to learn a different culture.
I thought Santa Clause was supposed to be a "jolly old ELF".
The reverse racism going on is just - dispicable.
The 20% sounded a little high, so I checked the UNO web site. Its actually 5.3% Black. The 20% figure is for minorities and foreign students combined.
I thought it meant, "No Worries."
Thanks for the correction. When I went there, the school's nicknames were "University of No Opportunity" (contrasted with the Lincoln campus as the "University of No Learning" and "Steroid State"), "West Dodge High" and the "University of North Omaha" (due to the minority population). It always seemed as though there were a large percentage of black students there, but maybe my perception was different than someone else's because the high school I attended was mostly white (I don't know how many black kids we had going there, but the number of black kids I had in my classes I could count on the fingers of one hand). When I started at UNO, the minority population seemed huge, and honestly, I would have sworn it was about 20 percent. Glad to see someone is keeping me straight. Thanks! :-)
No problem. I just thought the number seemed pretty high. I also didn't think the population of Omaha was 13% black, but it is. It interesting how perception dosen't always match up with reality.
When I went to High School in NJ in the mid-70s, the Blacks were about 20% of the student body. However, I only had one Black in all my classes (and they were certainly not Honor Classes). You would only see the Blacks as you walked between classes - they were all lining the hallways (sitting down), listening to their Kenner "Close-N-Plays." You would have to step over these people to make your way down the hall - hoping not to step on them and start a racial riot.