Editor's Note

December 02, 2007|By Karlayne R. Parker | Karlayne R. Parker,UniSun Editor

Ihave always been proud of my African-American heritage.

Anyone who knows me can attest to that.

My home is full of African pieces.

I've enjoyed participation in African dance (when I lived in Florida).

I've done some missionary work in Africa.

The list can go on.

However, I've never quite gotten into the full celebration of Kwanzaa.

Some years ago, a friend of mine bought a kinara with the red, black and green candles. The candles reminded me of the Jewish tradition of Hanukkah.

Over the years, I've attended Kwanzaa celebrations - programs that have included lots of activities for children and families.

But I never did the research. And maybe I should have.

A few years ago, there was a controversy surrounding the origins of the holiday and whether Kwanzaa goes against or is meant to supplant the Christian tradition of Christmas.

So, my interest was piqued then. Today, I don't celebrate Kwanzaa, but I do believe in the principles, which are universal and collectively bind African-Americans.

But the originator of the holiday, Maulana Ron Karenga of Parsonsburg, seems to waffle in his writings on the intent of the holiday, and that's why I have some reservations about celebrating it.

Still, I thought it was worth writing about because so many African-Americans observe the holiday, which begins Dec. 26. Writer Harold Fisher (on Page 14) tells the story of Kwanzaa with various perspectives on the celebration, which continues through Jan. 1.

As it is the holiday season, writer Arnesa Howell (on Page 11) tells us about the fond childhood memories of some of Baltimore's celebrities and notables. This is a story that everyone can identify with because we all have those moments.

These are the stories that mark the holiday occasion, but if you keep turning the pages, there's so much more.

On Page 23, Tiesha Higgins writes about a church-state-based program that finds permanent homes for children. More such homes are needed.

Staff writer Joseph Burris (on Page 19) writes about the release this year of a DVD geared toward children. Ever heard of Teddy P. Brain?

Now, when Burris initiated the story idea, I thought of a negative connotation. But the phrase "pea brain" is not significant in this animated cartoon that encourages African-American children to learn.

Happy holidays, and see you next year!

unisun@baltsun.com

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