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Local Kwanzaa Celebration Marks Thirty Years

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The week long Pan-African holiday known as Kwanzaa was first observed in 1966 in California.  This year marks the 30th consecutive year of the local celebration hosted by the Miami-Dade Chapter of the Florida A&M University National Alumni Association. Recognizing the uplifting and community-building potential of it’s core values or seven principles, Dr. Freddie G. Young initiated the push to celebrate Kwanzaa. Event chair Vanessa Woodard Byers recalls the meager beginnings of the celebration being held in the living room of Dr. Young’s condominium with the kinara and other symbols being sketched on poster board by her brother, Harlan Woodard. Their mother, Mary Williams Woodard chaired the presentation of the event for many years. Since it was a labor of love for her, the organization’s members chose to name the event in her honor after she transitioned in 2010.

In keeping with the spirit of Kwanzaa, the free event grew from a FAMU alumni association event to a true community celebration in collaboration with other organizations and international artists. The event grew from private homes to public facilities with attendance as large as 500 the year Tavis Smiley was the featured speaker. Byers would like to see the event garner enough support to present a countywide coordinated event each day of the week as the holiday was designed. In the meantime, an invitation is extended to this year’s milestone celebration with a challenge to everyone to make Kwanzaa a lifestyle.

If You go:

30th ANNUAL MARY WILLIAMS WOODARD LEGACY KWANZAA CELEBRATION. This joyous celebration of family, friends and community is the largest and longest-running local public celebration of the Nguzo Saba (Principles of Kwanzaa) in the Miami area. 

MARY WILLIAMS WOODARD LEGACY KWANZAA CELEBRATION 

Saturday, December 28, 2019

3:00pm - 6:00pm

City of Opa-locka Municipal Complex

780 Fisherman Street

2nd Floor

Opa-locka, FL 33054

 

Hosted by City of Opa-locka Vice Mayor Chris Davis, the Miami-Dade Chapter of the FAMU National Alumni Association, the Dr. Arthur & Mary Woodard Foundation for Education and Culture and Chief Nathaniel Styles, Jr. of Osun's Village African Caribbean Arts Corridor in partnership with the Opa-locka CDC, Zoe's Dolls and Next Generation Dance Academy. 

The event is FREE. Register at KwanzaaMiami30.eventbrite.com. Remember that Kwanzaa is a non-religious, non-political, family-friendly holiday. Enjoy the Soul Food Feast (Potluck donations are welcome.), music, dancing and celebrating with friends.

Donations of books and new, unwrapped educational toys are greatly appreciated. This year’s donated books and educational toys will benefit the Children’s Unit of New Horizons Mental Health Center, Inc.

If you have any questions, email Vanessa Byers at vanessawbyers@gmail.com or call (305) 343-9088. Thank you. HARAMBEE!

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