Umoja Opening Ceremony: Citywide Kwanzaa Celebration, 6-8 p.m., Hillside Community Center, 925 S. Institute St., free, cospringskwanzaa.org.
This November, one of our DiverseCity contributors Zahria Rogers attended a pre-Kwanzaa event
hosted by the Colorado Springs Citywide Kwanzaa Celebration
. While browsing local black-owned businesses and connecting with African-American artists and artisans, Rogers set out to learn the ins and outs of this oft-misunderstood holiday. She writes: “Maybe more events like these would decrease the number of people who think Kwanzaa is a black Christmas.” Now in its 29th year, the CSCKC will offer the wider community plentiful opportunities to participate in, enjoy and understand Kwanzaa (celebrated nationwide Dec. 26 through Jan. 1).
Wednesday’s opening ceremony encourages the community to gather around the concept of “umoja,” which means “unity.” It is the first of the Nguzo Saba, the seven principles upon which Kwanzaa is based. “Unity is both a principle and practice of togetherness in all things good and of mutual benefit,” CSCKC said in event promotions last year. “It is a principled and harmonious togetherness, not simply being together.” Celebrate unity tonight with the area’s African-American artists, musicians and business owners, and keep an eye out for other CSCKC events leading up to the first of the year.