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Kwanzaa has been a part of Akumba Bynum-Roberson’s life for most of his 32 years.
His parents introduced him to the week-long celebration of African-American culture around the time he began talking, he recalls.
Every year since then, the Atlanta entrepreneur and founder of AK Builders Group construction company, has happily observed the holiday that kicks off Dec. 26 through Jan. 1 and focuses on seven African-centered principles:
Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)
Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)
“I learned about the significance of those principles,” Bynum-Roberson said, and he learned to “appreciate the opportunity for family and friends to come together to be reminded to live out those principles 365 days of the year.”
This year Bynum-Roberson and his childhood friend Issa Prescott, a vegan food blogger, will kick off Kwanzaa with “Umoja Night,” a free community event from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Yogaskills Studio ATL, located at 1536 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd. in Atlanta.
“Umoja Night” is one of a host of Kwanzaa events being held throughout metro Atlanta.
The Umoja Night kickoff will include live performances, drumming, “fun, good vibes, positive energy, and healthy food,” and several vendors selling a variety of their creations, Bynum-Roberson said.
One vendor, 11-year-old Kenneth Collier, Jr. will be there spotlighting his business, called Button Buddy. When Kenneth Jr.’s mom died when he was 10, he had a tough time expressing his feelings, so he started making customized buttons to call attention to different social issues, such as gun violence and bullying.
Kwanzaa is important to him because it celebrates African-American history and heritage, Kenneth Jr. said.
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“It’s important to recognize the benefit of supporting these entrepreneurs so that black dollars can circulate inside our community,” Bynum-Roberson added.
Other Kwanzaa events around Atlanta:
Kwanzaa Black Book Fest
Hosted by Marcus Garvey Scholarship Society
5 p.m. to 7 p.m., today, Dec. 26
Sights and Sounds Cultural Museum inside North DeKalb Mall
2050 Lawrenceville Hwy. Decatur, Ga. 30033
Black Friday: Kwanzaa Edition at Omenela Griot
Hosted by Black History Enterprises
6 p.m. to 12 a.m. Dec. 28
337 Dargan Place SW Atlanta 30310
Celebrate Kwanzaa: A Cultural Exploration
Children’s Museum of Atlanta
11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 29
275 Centennial Olympic Park Drive NW Atlanta 30313
Ujamaa FEST www.ujamafest.com
1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 29
Atlanta City Hall
55 Trinity Avenue, 30303
Uhuru Dancers Kwanzaa 2018
Mohammed Schools of Atlanta
9:30 am. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 29
735 Fayetteville Rd SE Atlanta 30316
Tag Team Kwanzaa Celebration
4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 29
Held at the Courtyard Atlanta Airport West
3400 Creek Pointe Drive, East Point, Ga. 30314
Free Kwanzaa West African Drum and Dance Class
1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 30
114 New Street, Decatur, Ga.
Kwanzaa at Kidsland
Hosted by Villaging Brown
2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 30
6469 Tara Blvd, Jonesboro, Ga. 30236
APEX Museum Kwanzaa 2018
6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 31
135 Auburn Avenue NE Atlanta 30303