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Institute for Urban Research

On its 50th anniversary, Kwanzaa celebrations promote pride and provide ‘a safe space’

BALTIMORE SUN - December 25, 2016

This time of year, 14-year-old Amir Ralph is all about Kwanzaa. He not only embraces the celebration of African culture, which is marking its 50th anniversary this year, but he works tirelessly to spread the word about the holiday, visiting schools and communities throughout Baltimore.

He and his mother, Tiffany, will be lighting the kinara, whose seven candles represent the seven days and seven guiding principles of the holiday. There will be gifts and lots of celebrating. But ask Amir what makes Kwanzaa so special, and none of that comes up.

"It's a holiday surrounding community and family," says Amir, who lives in Bolton Hill with his mother and attends the Baltimore Design School. "It's also one of the only holidays that connects me to my heritage, and to my past." Read full article here...