Kwanzaa 2020 celebrations happening virtually because of COVID-19 pandemic

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Malcolm X College and other organizations throughout Chicago kicked the first day of the holiday with performances and celebrations people can enjoy from the comfort of their home.

"This year is really cool because, at this point, you don't have to necessarily carve out a block of time for you to go somewhere," said D'Sheadra Benford of the Africa International House. "These programs will be on our YouTube channel for at least to the end of the year."

"We are still trying to do what we normally do in person but in a virtual setting. It's been a little bit of adjustment," said Imani Amos of SuperGroup.

Kwanzaa is a seven-night celebration of African-American and Pan-African culture.

"For me, it's more about family and community so Kwanzaa time is an opportunity for me to get back with my family," said Benford.

"I have been celebrating Kwanzaa since I was a child," said Cassiopeia Uhuru with The Black Mall

Each night, families light the Kinara while discussing one of the seven principles. The principles are unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.

"My name is Imani and one of the principles is Imanm," said Amos. "My favorite principle is Imani which is January 1st which means faith."

"I got up here Kujichagulia. That's one of my favorite principles. It's self determination. Self determination is all about doing things for ourselves by ourselves," said Cassiopeia Uhuru with The Black Mall.

With the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement and the health and economic disparities revealed by the pandemic this year, those who observe Kwanzaa say the holiday can help guide the Black community.

"Kwanzaa can not only unify Black folks everywhere but give them a reason, and a purpose to do what is that we do and do it the best we can and do it together," Amos said.
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