'One of my favorite holidays:' Kwanzaa celebration underway in Fayetteville community

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- With the holidays underway, the day after Christmas marks the beginning of Kwanzaa, a week-long celebration of African American and Pan-African culture.

Kia Anthony, a long-time Fayetteville resident, is celebrating the holiday for her fifth year in a row.

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"One of my favorite holidays. My second favorite, actually. The first has to be Juneteenth," Anthony said.

The non-religious holiday was birthed by California State University professor Dr. Maulana Karenga, an influential professor of Africana studies, in 1966, during the Black Freedom Movement.

"It's about the community and celebrating our African roots," Anthony said.

Anthony is the founder of Circa 1865, a local organization that looks to bring African American culture, business, and education to the forefront in Cumberland County.

Her mission follows very closely to the meaning of a holiday that's celebrated by millions worldwide.
"The political climate, the economic climate. This is a good time to unify and really focus on us coming together and celebrating as a people," Anthony added.

Umoja Group Inc. is a local organization that is involved in a long list of activities that look to share a positive history, arts and culture of Africans, African Americans, and Caribbeans.

This group is planning to hold a Kwanzaa Celebration on Sunday afternoon at the Seabrook Park Smith Center.

"Making sure that we shop at black businesses intentionally for these seven days, so we're putting back into our community," Anthony said.

That act falls under cooperative economics. It's one of seven themes that people reflect on every night during the seven-day celebration.
Families also light a kinara to symbolize the struggle, future, and hope of a people.

"Most cultures can trace their lineages back hundreds, if not thousands of years; due to slavery, we don't have that luxury," Anthony added.

A lineage Anthony hopes she can trace back to someday. But it won't stop her from celebrating the beauty of African cultures.

The Kwanzaa celebration at the recreation center is open to the public and goes from 3 to 6 p.m.
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