Local BIPOC leaders collaborate, move Kwanzaa celebration online due to pandemic


HUMBOLDT COUNTY, Calif. (KIEM)-Local leaders join forces to move Kwanzaa celebrations online because of the pandemic.

“I believe the Eureka branch of the NAACP has been doing Kwanzaa since around [the year] 2000,” said Eureka NAACP’s media person Lorna Bryant.

Twenty-years later – more have come to make it an annual tradition.

“It has just grown, and then COVID struck so we decided to go virtually,” said Bryant.

Kwanzaa starts the day after Christmas – runs for seven days ending the first of the year.

Each day is dedicated to a principle – marked by lighting a candle.

“We like to profile all those principles in the community and use those principles grow as a community,” said Bryant.

President Sharrone Blanck of the Eureka NAACP says the goal is to unite the BIPOC community.

“It’s in these conversations, to find out other community members, this is a new celebration for them as well, ” Blanck.

Kwanzaa, in Swahili, means first fruit and is a non-religious commemoration to honor ancestral roots of those from the BIPOC community.

 The celebration started in 1966, and became popular in the 80’s and 90’s.

“I think it’s really important to celebrate the black community as much as possible and this is just a natural way of doing that,” said Blanck

The Eureka NAACP invite black and brown community members to join them every night, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., to learn more about African heritage and culture.

The nightly online celebration ends Friday, January 1, 2021.

Blank says, she learns more about Kwanzaa with every passing year.

“This is really, I think the most robust Kwanzaa celebration that we’ve had since, I’ve been president,” she said. “I didn’t grow up celebrating Kwanzaa, and it’s really nice in these conversations to find out other community members, this is a new celebration for them as well.”

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