The principles of Kwanzaa are deeply rooted in community building and empowerment. Every candle lit is a reminder of how each value works together to strengthen who we are individually, but most importantly, collectively.

This week-long celebration of African-American culture and heritage has instilled the importance of unity (umoja), self-determination (kujichagulia), collective work and responsibility (ujima), cooperative economics (ujamaa), purpose (nia), creativity (kuumba), and faith (imani) across familial generations.  

Although we have encountered unimaginable obstacles throughout this year, these values have always been a critical component of overcoming setbacks. Amid a pandemic, we have galvanized an entire community into action to address the racial inequities in education, healthcare, and our justice system. 

May the light of the Kinara inspire hope and illuminate the path towards a better tomorrow for our children.

I wish all who celebrate a happy, joyful, and safe Kwanzaa.