Rockaway Celebrates Kwanzaa

On Monday, December 19, RDRC and the Rockaway Cultural Group hosted a Rockaway Kwanzaa celebration at the Child Center of NY on Beach 57th Street.

Dr. Richard Severing, professor of African History at York College explained to the children about the Spirit of Kwanzaa. He explained that the colors of Kwanzaa, are black for the people, red for their struggle and green for hope for the future. The Kinara, the seven-branched candle holder is lit throughout Kwanzaa. The seven candles (Mishumaa Saba) represent the seven principles of Kwanzaa: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.

The principles of Kwanzaa are: Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa (cooperative economics), Nia (purpose), Kuumba (creativity) and Imani (faith). Kwanzaa is a cultural holiday, meaning people from all different religious backgrounds, including African spiritual traditions, celebrate.

At Monday’s celebration, the Children of Ocean Bay performed the “O Kwanzaa” song. Tamara Hayes performed a powerful representation of authentic African dance. There was sharing of music and instruments and how they were made. Rosalyn Temple, who gave the history of an ancient African instrument the kalimba, performed a beautiful instrumental. Morris Holmes, a member of RCG performed drumming. There was also a short video presentation representing children from Redfern CCNY, Ocean Bay CCNY, Beach 41st street CCNY, and greetings from Assemblyman Khaleel Anderson.

Rockaway Cultural Group is led by president Brenda Temple, vice president Vernelle Robsinon and treasurer Kimberly Comes. RCG does not only host Kwanzaa, but shares the rich history of African/African American culture throughout the year through performance and art. For more information, email:

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