Keeping up with Kwanzaa

December 12, 2015

While some students spend the time between Christmas and New Year’s thawing in front of a fireplace with a holiday movie lighting up their TV, senior Meridian Buckner spends those nights lighting candles on the Kinara. Meridian embraces her African-American heritage by celebrating Kwanzaa, a holiday recognizing family, culture and community.

Meridian recognizes Kwanzaa throughout the year. She has attended the Jack and Jill Kwanzaa chapter since she was 2 years old and is now vice president of the group. Meridian’s mother, Swain Buckner, was in the organization, so Meridian is a legacy. Jack and Jill is an organization with a goal of creating a medium of contact for children to stimulate growth and development. Her duties as vice president include keeping track member attendance and helping organize trips for the organization.

“It’s interesting because all the people do not go to your school,” Meridian said. “It is nice to have other people that you have known for a really long time and understand you.”

The goal of Kwanzaa is to introduce the seven values of African Culture which reinforce family, community and culture. Meridian said she has a strong connection with her heritage because of Kwanzaa and would not be as culturally aware if she did not celebrate the holiday. According to the official Kwanzaa website, Kwanzaa brings a cultural message which speaks to the best of what it means to be African and human in the fullest sense.

(Kwanzaa) is a way to live life. Keeping up with your roots and working together, along with self-determination, are things you live by and should work on.”

— Meridian Buckner


However, Meridian said Kwanzaa is a celebration of heritage, not a religious holiday. People who celebrate Kwanzaa can be of all different religions. Buckner is Christian and celebrates Christmas in addition to Kwanzaa.

“Kwanzaa is an opportunity to remind children of who they are and prepare them for the next generation,” Swain Buckner said.


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