December 13, 2019

Media Contacts:
Scott Peterson, Director of Communications, Office of Public Information, 410-313-2022
Marla Moore, Outreach Coordinator, Office of Human Rights, 410-313-6430 

ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball and the Office of Human Rights invite the public to join them for an evening celebrating Kwanzaa, a seven-day festival commemorating the African-American people, their culture and their heritage. The celebration will take place on Thursday, December 26 at 5:30 p.m. at the George Howard Building, 3430 Court House Drive in Ellicott City.  

"Kwanzaa reminds us to honor family, culture, and community," said Ball. "In Howard County, where our diversity and unity is our strength, the seven principles of Kwanzaa are important reminders during this holiday season and throughout the year." 

Kwanzaa was created by Dr. Maulana Karenga, professor and chairman of Black Studies at California State University, Long Beach, in 1966 to celebrate family, community and culture. Observed from December 26 thru January 1, the Kwanzaa celebration is modeled after the first harvest celebrations in many African traditions. The name Kwanzaa is derived from the phrase “matunda ya kwanza,” which means “first fruits” in Swahili. 

Today, millions of people around the world show their belief in Kwanzaa’s seven principles (Unity, Self-Determination, Collective Work and Responsibility, Cooperative Economics, Purpose, Creativity and Faith) and seven symbols (Crops, a Mat, Candle Holder, Corn, Gifts, Unity Cup and the 7 candles) with celebrations that often include songs and dances, African drums, storytelling, poetry reading, lighting of the candles on the Kinara (candleholder) and a large traditional meal. 

The County’s celebration on the 26th will include food, vendors and presentations from several community members and/or organizations.

For additional questions and/or more information about the event, contact the Office of Human Rights at 410-313-6430.

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