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Kwanzaa kicks off with week full of events in Knoxville

The Bottom is hosting a week of events centered around Kwanzaa principles like unity, self-determination as well as collective work and responsibility.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Kwanzaa began on Dec. 26 this year, celebrating African culture and the principles surrounding it. The celebrations last a week, with each day highlighting a specific value.

On the first day, Dec. 26, groups celebrate 'Umoja,' or unity. The Bottom will host a "Brown Girl's Brunch" from 11 a.m. through 1 p.m. with mimosas and dessert to kick off the week of events.

The next day, Dec. 27, they will celebrate 'Kujichagulia,' which roughly translates to self-determination, according to The Bottom. They will celebrate this day with a "Sip 'n Sew" event where people can make garments while enjoying a drink.

After that, on Dec. 28 they will hold a gun safety workshop with Protect Our People Tennessee. There, people can learn more about how to safely operate and own guns. The workshop ties into the day of 'Ujima,' which represents collective work and responsibility. The workshop starts at 6 p.m.

After that, The Bottom will host an 'Ujamma Market' from 11 a.m. through 6 p.m. on Dec. 29. The event highlights the Kwanzaa principle of cooperative economics, which emphasizes local entrepreneurship as well as shared work and wealth.

The day before New Year's Eve highlights 'Nia,' which represents a person's personal purpose. For this, The Bottom will host a happy hour event from 4 p.m. through 6 p.m. when people can enjoy a free cup of chai tea and chat with organizers.

Then, on New Year's Eve, they will host a meetup event for Black creatives. The event is meant to celebrate 'Kuumba,' or creativity. The meetup will start at 9 p.m. and will feature karaoke, organizers said.

On the last day of Kwanzaa, Jan. 1, The Bottom will host New Year's Alter to celebrate 'Imani,' or faith. During the event, people will be able to share intention, vision and faith while also contributing to the alter, hoping to bring in cheer and happiness in the new year.

Kwanzaa was created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga in California who wanted to bring African-American communities together. The name translates to 'first fruits' in Swahili, according to officials.

Love is the Answer's Felicia Outsey said people first observed and celebrated Kwanzaa more than 50 years ago in the U.S.

"It is a celebration of us as a people and those who came before us so that we can continue to go forward and we won't forget the greatness that we came from," Outsey said.

Kwanzaa is a time of communal self-affirmation when famous black heroes and respected community members are celebrated.

"For the non-African Americans, it's very important for them to understand that all the support and love is needed in order for this community to reach it's greatness," Outsey said.

Participants need to RSVP for some of The Bottom's events ahead of time. They can reserve their spot online.

We’re getting into the Kwanzaa spirit!!Join us as we celebrate community, culture & creativity through a weeklong...

Posted by thebottomknox on Monday, December 20, 2021