Although Kwanzaa is still a few weeks away, Hamilton’s Black and Latino Student Union (BLSU) invited 50 guests, including students and faculty, to celebrate the spirit of Kwanzaa and each other as the academic semester comes to a close.
The celebration honors African heritage in African-American culture, and is observed from December 26 to January 1, culminating in a feast and gift-giving.
Before the dinner began, hostess Jasmine Murray '17 requested permission from the oldest person in the room to begin the celebration. It was granted by Professor of Classics Shelley Haley. After introducing guests to the meaning of Kwanzaa, Jasmine and Njideka Ofoleta ‘16 then led the guests in singing Lift Every Voice and Sing.
Members of the BLSU executive board then gave brief statements about the seven principles of Kwanzaa: Umoja-unity, Kujichagulia- Self-Determination, Ujima- Collective Work and Responsibility, Ujamaa- Cooperative Economics, Nia- Purpose,Kuumba- Creativity, and Imani- Faith while lighting the corresponding candles on the Kinara.
After all the candles were lit, the board exchanged gifts to show their appreciation for each other. Finally, the guests were invited to partake in the dinner of macaroni and cheese, cornbread, rice, fried chicken, salad, collard greens, rice and beans, and sweet potato pie. Recipes were provided by Director of Opportunity Programs and Interim Director of Diversity and Inclusion Phyllis Breland ‘80 and prepared by Bon Appetit.
During the dinner Chris Labora ‘16 worked on a live painting which he generously donated to BLSU.