December 2010 Archives

Kwanzaa Celebration

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Kwanzaa--an African-American holiday--celebration usually starts on the 26th of December and ends on New Year's Day but the African American Culture Center, located on the side of Delaney Hall, decides to celebrate it a little early each year.

Saturday, December 11 at 4:30 p.m. in the Ohio room in the HUB, Kwanzaa came alive. Lights of red, tables of black and accents of green filled the room. The colors red, black and green are the symbolic colors of Kwanzaa. The red represents the color of the blood that was shed by our people. The green represents the color of the land. The black represents the color of our people.The evening started off with some performances by IUP's own African Dance Ensemble, Damage Dolls and Voices of Joy. The performances were followed by a presentation by AACC's graduate assistant Mr. Mahammadou Ganda Nabi. Nabi explained the history of Kwanzaa and why it is an important piece of African-American history.

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(African Dance Ensemble/Photo by Tiana Reid)

20101211172454.jpg(Voices of Joy/photo by Tiana Reid)

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(Kinara with the candles and the table setting/ photo by Tiana Reid)

Kwanzaa is a national African-American holiday that celebrates the culture of Africa. The holiday stresses the importance of family, community, culture, history and values. There are so many symbolic pieces in the Kwanzaa celebration such as the Kinara, the candle holder that holds seven candles; three in red, three in green and one in black. Each candle represents the seven principles of Kwanzaa:

Umoja- Unity

Kujichagulia- Self determination

Ujima- Collective work and responsibility

Ujamaa- Cooperative economics

Nia- Purpose

Kuumba- Creativity

Imani- Faith

The night continuted with students and faculty members lighting the candles and reciting what each candle stood for (each of the seven principles).

Dinner was served shortly after and afterward more celebration with dancing and singing from the Nazu Dance and Drum Ensemble of Baltimore, Maryland. The evening wrapped up with a raffle for children and then one for the adults. Several children walked away with prizes and three adults walked away with wrapped prizes as well.

Kwanzaa is celebrated by millions of people worldwide. It was a great way to end the year and celebrate something so beautiful.

 

Here's a Video of Voices of Joy (video by Tiana Reid...I apologize for the quality of the video) 

 

Rockin' Red

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Yesterday, December 1, was AIDS (Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome) awareness day. As I walked through the campus I noticed bright red ribbons (the international symbol for AIDS awareness) tied to the trees in the Oak Grove and students wearing red to represent the awareness.

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(picture from Google)

But it's not time to put the red away. There were about 33 million people living with HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) in the United States at the end of 2009 (according advert.org), just over half of those cases were women.

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(graph is from avert.org)

The numbers have been growing steadily since 1990 but it has to stop now.

The HIV/AIDS epidemic is even scarier in the black community. Although African-Americans only account for 12 percent of the US population, nearly 46 percent of all people living with HIV are African-Americans. The death rates for African-Americans infected with HIV or AIDS are higher than those of any other race.

Fast facts from The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation:

Black women accounted for a majority of new HIV cases (61 percent) in 2006 and of new AIDS cases (65 percent) in 2008 among women

Black teens, only 15 percent of the population, accounted for 68 percent of new AIDS cases among teens in 2007.

D.C. has the highest AIDS diagnosis rate in the country for Blacks.

HIV death rates are the highest amongst Blacks.

In 2006, HIV was the fourth leading cause of death for Black men and the third for Black women ages 25-44.

***

With all of this information easily available to anyone with access to the internet, free clinics or local libraries, why are our numbers so high? 

The Black Student League (an organization of which I am a member) decided to provide IUP's students with even more information about the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The BSL will hold a general meeting next Tuesday, December 7, in the Knowlton room in the HUB at 7 p.m. The meeting is titled: The Closet Killer: Why Are We Dying?

There's also a National Black HIV/AIDs awareness month (February) website. I never knew that there was a nationally recognized Black HIV/AIDS awareness month. It's been recognized for the past 11 years. Even with all of this information out there at our disposal, we still have so much to learn.

So dont stop rockin' your red just yet, get tested, get informed, get treated and spread the knowledge.

 

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This page is an archive of entries from December 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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