Youth group celebrates ‘purpose’ in Kwanzaa

Youth group celebrates ‘purpose’ in Kwanzaa

Sam Jackson gives remarks during Bay County's Kwanzaa celebration on Monday.

Heather Leiphart / The News Herald
Published: Tuesday, December 31, 2013 at 10:03 AM.

PANAMA CITY — The meaning of nia, celebrated on the fifth day of Kwanzaa, is “purpose.” One local civil right’s organization challenged attendees to find their purpose during an annual holiday ceremony.

“Purpose is what drives us,” said Shelley Clark, advisor of the youth wing of the local chapter NAACP. “It’s to make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our communities to their traditional greatness.”

Community members joined the youth wing of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to celebrate the seven principals of Kwanzaa — unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith — often said in the native East African language of Swahili.

Kwanzaa was founded by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966 and is observed from Dec. 26 to Jan.1.

“All of the Kwanzaa principals are for our day-to-day living,” Clark said, noting the Nguzo Saba, which means Seven Principals, are to be planted in individuals and applied collectively.

Throughout her childhood, Brittney Jackson was taught to celebrate Kwanzaa. As an adult, she keeps the tradition going.

“It really focuses on family and to spend time with family,” Jackson said. “The principals become a part of your life. It’s something I’m going to continue to do with my kids.”

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