Holiday events and gifts to uplift

2008 All of Us or None Community Giveback

8th-annual-all-of-us-or-none-bike-giveaway-in-east-oakland-by-jr, Holiday events and gifts to uplift, Culture Currents Traditionally, the holiday season is a time of good will, great food, community, family and gift exchanges. However, that warm, fuzzy feeling doesn’t happen for everyone. For some, the holidays are just another reminder of the people who are missing from our communities, our loved ones who are in jails and prisons.

All of Us or None, a project of Legal Services for Prisoners with Children in San Francisco, is doing something to fill that gap. For the ninth consecutive year, former prisoners are hosting a community event that gives bikes, toys and other gifts to the children of people currently in jails or prisons and their caregivers. The Community Giveback is a way for children whose parents are locked up to receive holiday gifts in the name of their incarcerated mother or father. This annual event honors the memory and community work of Robert Moody, Oakland community activist who passed away in 2003.

The 2008 All of Us or None Community Giveback will be held on Saturday, Dec. 20, at the Youth Services Bureau, located at 84 Broadway in Richmond from 1 to 4 p.m.

All types of donations are welcome and everything is needed, including toys, bikes, safety gear and monetary donations in any amount. All donations are tax deductible and appreciated. For more information on donating or attending, contact Hamdiya Cooks at (510) 410-1099 (cell) or (415) 255-7036, ext. 337, to leave a message.

A lasting holiday gift: the 2009 Political Prisoners Calendar

2009-political-prisoners-calendar-231x300, Holiday events and gifts to uplift, Culture Currents During the holiday season, many of us are looking for gifts that will delight our loved ones and also demonstrate our continued commitment to social justice work.

The 2009 Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners Calendar is exactly that – with 42 gorgeous full-color pages of art and writings, it will provide enjoyment throughout the year. And your purchase is an important contribution to your community.

Get inspired by the work of grassroots organizers across Canada and the United States! The calendar features DRUM (Desis Rising Up and Moving), Philly’s Pissed, Incite!, Sumoud, Alvaro Luna Hernandez, Inside Books Project, Laura Whitehorn, Robert Seth Hayes, David Gilbert, Herman Bell, Peter Collins, The Cuban Five, Victory Gardens, Common Ground, Native Youth Movement and more!

This year, we have reduced our price to make the calendar even easier for you to give to your friends and family. For only $12, you can make this meaningful and lasting gift. You can also purchase copies of 10 or more for $8 – a great fundraiser for groups.

The calendar collective is a small group, and mail takes longer than usual during the holiday season. Try to order by Nov. 30 to avoid disappointment! We may also be able to send rush orders of any size via expedited mail for an additional fee; email and visit

The Bay Area Kwanzaa Committee presents ‘The Public Houses Of Kwanzaa’

kwanzaa-candle-lighting-web-300x195, Holiday events and gifts to uplift, Culture Currents Kwanzaa 2008: a celebration of family, community and culture by and for people of African ancestry:

• Umoja (Unity), hosted by Wo’se Community House of Amen Ra, Friday, Dec. 26, at 7 p.m., location to be announced
• Kujichagulia (Self Determination), hosted by the Nairobi Kwanzaa Committee, Saturday, Dec. 27, 7 p.m., Tulip Jones Women’s Club, 1310 Bay Road, East Palo Alto, (650) 325-5532, (650) 799-4828
• Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Sunday, Dec. 28, to be announced
• Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), hosted by Pivotal Point Youth Services, Monday, Dec. 29, 5:30-8:30 p.m., Lake Merritt Sail Boat House, 568 Bellevue Ave., Oakland, , (510) 536-6604, ext. 201
• Nia (Purpose), hosted by the Pan African Peoples Organization (PAPO), Tuesday, Dec. 30, 7 p.m., 959 33rd St., Oakland, (510) 465-2886, (510) 917-5878
• Kuumba (Creativity), Wednesday, Dec. 31, to be announced
• Imani (Faith), Thursday, Jan. 1, to be held at your home in honor of the extended family and in affinity with our African ancestral heritage and celebration of first fruits

In keeping with the tradition of Kwanzaa, everyone is encouraged to bring something to share (no pork, please). Kwanzaa is an African American holiday based on the African agricultural celebrations and collective principles, which contribute to the unity and development of the African community. It was created by Maulana Karenga in 1966. Kwanzaa is a seven-day holiday observed from Dec. 26 through Jan. 1. The Bay Area Kwanzaa Committee is an organization representing various Houses of Kwanzaa that have been celebrating Kwanzaa for over 20 years. The committee operates on a philosophy based on an understanding of Kwanzaa’s deep significance to the African community. The committee treats Kwanzaa as a non-commercial, spiritual, political and cultural holiday.

Nguzo Saba (In-Goo-Zo Sah-Bah) or Seven Principles

• Umoja (oo-moh-jah) Unity: To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community nation and race.
• Kujichagulia (koo-jee-cha-goo-lee-ah) Self Determination: To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves, instead of being defined, named, created for and spoken for by others.
• Ujima (oo-jee-mah) Collective Work and Responsibility: To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers and sisters problems our problems and to solve them together.
• Ujamaa (oo-jah-mah) Cooperative Economics: To build and maintain our own businesses and to profit from them together.
• Nia (nee-ah) Purpose: To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community, and to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
• Kuumba (koo-oom-bah) Creativity: To always do as much as we can, in the way that we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial that when we inherited it.
• Imani (ee-mah-nee) Faith: To believe with all our hearts in our God, our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

Kwanzaa celebration marks 15th anniversary of GASA

In honor of 15 years of service, the Girls After School Academy (GASA) will hold a Kwanzaa anniversary dinner on Wednesday, Dec. 10, 6-8 p.m., at the Women’s Building, 3543 18th St., San Francisco. Celebrating investments in young women, the event will pay tribute to present GASA members and alumni.

GASA members will present their stories and discuss what the organization and its activities mean to them. “This event is an opportunity for reflection and to show our gratitude for our ancestral resiliency” says Tonya Williams, executive director of GASA.

GASA serves girls 6-18 years old living in San Francisco’s largest public housing development, Sunnydale, and the greater Visitacion Valley. GASA embraces an Afri-centric focus and a womanist view to enrich their lives.

This event is free and open to the public. Please RSVP to (415) 584-4044 or

Kwanzaa CD – ‘Yenu Iwe Na Heri: Music for the People of Vision, Faith and Love’

happy-child-mom, Holiday events and gifts to uplift, Culture Currents Fourteen songs celebrate all the principles and symbols of the Kwanzaa Nguzo Saba tradition and every aspect of our annual celebrations of life, spirit and culture. Visit to listen to the 14 songs of Kwaanza.

The Sankofa Singers of the San Francisco Bay Area join with songwriter-singer Minister Mxolisi of the Wose Community House of Amen Ra of the Sacred African Way of Oakland to pour their hearts and souls into these expressions of truth, beauty and goodness, along with the music and rhythms of composer-arranger Randy Dixon. These are songs of self-determination and joy, meaning and purpose to be sung by young and old alike, to become invigorating enhancements to your Kwanzaa celebrations and all the days of your life!

A portion of the proceeds benefits Ile Omode School, pre-K through eighth grade, operated by the Wose’ Community House of Amen Ra.

Kwanzaa Yenu Iwe Na Heri: May your Kwanzaa be filled with blessings divine! Order you CD now at Item Number KYCD001, $14.95. For more information, email or call (804) 561-1124.

Christmastime Spirituals: Songs of Hope and Promise

laroilyn-lee-davis-web, Holiday events and gifts to uplift, Culture Currents Friends of Negro Spirituals, a 501 (c) (3) education organization, and the African American Center of the San Francisco Main Public Library will present an unusual Christmas program called Christmastime Spirituals: Songs of Promise and Hope on Sunday, Dec. 7, 2- 4 p.m., in the Koret Auditorium of San Francisco’s Main Public Library, 100 Larkin St. in San Francisco; the doors will open at 1:30. The free public, wheelchair accessible education event will feature educator and song leader Laroilyn Lee Davis leading the audience in listening to and singing Spirituals that were inspired by slavery and the Christmas story, have long given hope and promise, and have been performed by artists over time. “Our goal is to make joyful singing for the Christmas season,” Davis says.

Davis, a Negro Spirituals expert, grew up in the Negro Spirituals culture of Bethune-Cookman College in Daytona Beach, Florida, and was raised by a mother who was a Negro Spirituals scholar, a graduate of Fisk University in music and the chair of the Bethune-Cookman College Music Department. Her father was a professor of history at the college. Davis was educated at Stanford University’s School of Education and at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, in music. The well known Oakland educator and administrator has taught for over 30 years, Negro Spirituals being among her subjects.

Davis brings a rich grasp of songs birthed by African-American slaves, who, a little less than 150 years ago, around this time of year, like the slave masters, were anticipating the arrival of Christmas. Christmas on slave plantations in the South was prized over other celebrations, the slaves being allowed more freedoms than usual and the slave owners celebrating the occasion in ways that are similar to today. However, though little known, the annual celebration of the birth of Christ was, as prescribed by customs of slave owners, a season of partying with whiskey, singing, dancing, shooting guns, visiting relatives and friends, and taking time off from work. Black slaves were allowed to marry and travel to other plantations; they were strongly encouraged to drink heartily and have fun.

Only a small number of Christmas Spirituals were created by Black slaves, it’s believed. “There a Star in the East,” “Mary Had a Baby,” and “Rise Up Shepherd and Follow” are three of them. Imaginative and heart-felt Christmas Negro Spirituals such as “Go Tell It on the Mountain,” “Poor Little Jesus,” “O Jerusalem” and “All Roun de Glory Manger” are thought to have been composed by Blacks after their emancipation.

Lyvonne Chrisman, vice president of Friends of Negro Spirituals explains, “Considering the many home foreclosures, daily jobs losses and the dark clouds of uncertainty of the times, our program is tailored for all of us; we can still sing together and learn about songs that formed a bridge that brought thousands over.”

Join with us in singing and learning about Christmas Spirituals that have inspired hope and promise for years and have been performed by artists over time. An activity table for children will be available. For more information, contact Sam Edwards or Lyvonne Chrisman at (510) 869-4359 or