by Adrian Williams
Tia Carroll performs on the first day of our 10th Kwanzaa Celebration, Umoja (Unity) Dec. 26, 12 noon at MoAD
San Francisco will come alive with 15 Kwanzaa celebrations throughout the city. Presented by the Village Project and many community partners, there will be seven days of community events starting on Dec. 26, running through Jan. 1.
Striving to unite and strengthen our family, community and nation, each of the seven principles – the Nguzo Saba – will be highlighted with the lighting of a candle, followed by a feast of succulent cuisines and a myriad of artistic performances.
Umoja (Unity), to strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race, is Dec. 26:
12 noon at the Museum of the African Diaspora, 665 Mission at Third Street: Tia Carroll will perform at the Museum of the African Diaspora. Tassiana Willis from Youth Speaks will reflect on being a youth in San Francisco. Drumming and lunch will finish off the celebration.
7 p.m. at the African American Arts and Culture Complex, 762 Fulton at Webster: MuZiek returns to kick off Umoja at AAACC. Join us for some Soul Train tunes and enjoy a succulent feast! There will be spoken word by Ms. Joyce Lee, two times Oakland Grand Slam winner, along with Les Bantus Sissa Kongo performing African dance and drumming. The first candle of the kinera will be lit in celebration of Umoja (Unity).
Kugichagulia (Self Determination), to define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves, is Dec. 27:
1 p.m. at the San Francisco Public Library, 100 Larkin: Storyteller, Phavia Kujichagualia will headline the program, followed by Brother Clint and Malik performing the Kwanzaa ritual and the lighting of the second candle of the kinara, Kujichagulia.
4 p.m. at Third Baptist Church, 1099 McAlister: The second celebration of the day features Vasteen Caldwell singing gospel.
Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), to build and maintain our community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems and solve them together, is Dec. 28:
12 noon at City Hall: Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services Deputy Director Derick Brown will host the annual City Hall celebration of the third principle, Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility). La Shon Walker will be keynote speaker and Liz Jackson, Success Center San Francisco, will MC. The program also includes youth performances by the Talent All Stars Dancers, the Village Kids Chorus and spoken word by Tassiana Willis from Youth Speaks.
2 p.m. at the Western Addition Senior Center, 1330 Turk at Fillmore: The Blues Ryders will perform, co-sponsored by the Western Addition Family Resource Center. The Village Kids Chorus will delight the seniors with song.
6 p.m. at the Bayview YMCA, 1601 Lane St., a block east of Third on Quesada: This is the final celebration of the day, with the pouring of libations and honoring of ancestors. The third candle, representing Ujima, will be lit, accompanied by drumming and followed by plenty of enticing food! Entertainment will be provided by Elizabeth Summers with spoken word and the Feline Finesse Youth Dancers.
Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), to build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together, is Dec. 29:
1 p.m. at Hamilton Recreation Center, 1900 Geary Blvd: The Laney College Dance Department headlines an afternoon of dance at Hamilton Rec Center. They will be joined by the Village Dancers of Crossroads, the Talent All Stars Dancers, praise dancers, PAL Seahawks and much more! There will also be plenty of moving around the floor, with our DJ, Mr. C, spinning tunes for all to dance to.
5 p.m. at Minnie and Lovie Ward Recreation Center, 650 Capitol Ave.: Soul Mechanix will be the show stopper, where we will have our second celebration of Ujamaa and light the fourth candle of the kinera. Brotha Clint and Brotha Malik will pour libations and honor our ancestors, followed by a mouth-watering feast!
Nia (Purpose), to make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness, is Dec. 30:
1 p.m. at the Boys and Girls Club, 380 Fulton: At the Boys and Girls Club, one of the newest partners, the community’s youth will be showcased. They start our celebration of Nia. They will light the fifth candle of this year’s Kwanzaa celebration.
4 p.m. at Glide Memorial Church, 330 Ellis St.: Storyteller Kirk Waller will be the keynote entertainment. First year aboard, Glide will also light a candle in celebration of purpose, Nia. Drumming by Lorraine Bowser will enhance Kirk’s presentation. After the pouring of libations and the entertainment, families and friends will break bread together at the customary feast!
7 p.m. at Rafiki Coalition for Health and Wellness: Raja Hayat will sing jazzy tunes after the ritual is complete. Also on the program is spoken word artist TaLea Monet. Sister Emily Wade Thompson will perform the Kwanzaa ritual, another first for our celebration. Come early because Rafiki was packed last year!
Kuumba (Creativity), to do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it, is Dec. 31:
12 noon at Potrero Hill Family Resource Center, 801 Arkansas at 22nd Street: On our sixth day of Kwanzaa, the Grandmothers Club from the center will again host, serving some down home cooking as only grandmothers can cook! Spoken word and drumming are on the program. Be prepared to dance to some oldies but goodies tunes by DJ, Mr. C.
4 p.m.at the King-Garvey Center, 1680 Eddy at Pierce: Know Jazz will be the entertainment at the second celebration of the day. The Success Center San Francisco will host Kuumba and light the sixth candle of the kinara. This is their first year with us. Brotha Clint and Malik will perform the Kwanzaa ritual, followed by a wonderful feast. The Village Kids Chorus will also perform.
Imani (Faith), to believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle, is Jan. 1st:
6 p.m. at St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church, 2097 Turk St.: Bernard Anderson and The Smooth Blues Band will close out our 2015-16 Kwanzaa celebration on the day of the final principle, Imani (Faith). The Union of Black Episcopalians will co-host this event, where the last candle of the kinara will be lit. Dr. Dorothy Tsuruta, chair of the Department of Africana Studies, SF State University, will again serve as MC for this event.
Adrian Williams, director of The Village Project, a non-profit, community based organization providing a safe haven for academic, cultural and enrichment activities for youth 6 to 17 and their families, and organizer of major events that bring the community together, can be reached at The Village Project, 2097 Turk St., San Francisco, CA 94115, www.thevillageprojectsf.org, 415-424-2980 or firstname.lastname@example.org.