Learning more about Kwanzaa

Article written by Portia Dyrenforth, TNSM parent and Diversity and Community Engagement Committee member

This year I decided it was time to update my very cursory knowledge of Kwanzaa. I remember learning about it during elementary school when a parent gave a presentation to our class, but to be honest, I don’t know much beyond the very basics. After spending some time down an internet-rabbit hole, I know a little bit more and have a lot left to learn. In the spirit of this busy time of year and incremental learning, I wanted to share two short video clips that provide a bit of history and context for the celebration. I welcome other resources you might share as we learn from one another this winter season.

  • “Why Kwanza” by Maulana Karenga  
    This 2½ minute clip shows Maulana Karenga, credited as the creator of Kwanzaa, describing the most basic idea of what Kwanzaa is and why it was developed in the 1960s.
  • “Unpacking the Future of Kwanzaa in the Black Community” by The Root
    This short (6 minute) video was produced by The Root in 2020. It gives a short summary of why Kwanzaa was developed and discusses some of the corporate and cultural influences that have shaped its celebration.

Does your family observe a tradition or cultural holiday that you’d like to share with the TNSM community? Do you have a passion for, or expertise in, a certain area of DEI? The D+CE committee is always looking for books, resources, and classroom speakers to help deepen the cultural competency of our school community. Please reach out to us. ([email protected]…)  

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