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Kwanzaa celebrations begin in Buffalo, beginning with "unity"

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

A seven-day celebration by the African-American community got underway in downtown Buffalo during the noon hour Tuesday. The raising in Niagara Square of the red, black and green Pan-African flag, also referred to as the Black Liberation flag, marked the local festivities marking Kwanzaa.

Nearly a dozen individuals began inside the main lobby of City Hall and then walked to Niagara Square, braving the bitter cold weather and speaking a chant as they raised the flag.

"Kwanzaa is really a celebration of family, community and culture," said Samuel Radford, one of the individuals who got Buffalo's Kwanzaa celebration underway. "At the end of every year, we do what is called an in-gathering of the people. And in that in-gathering of the people what we want to do is take an assessment of how this past year went, and look at the year to come."

The seven principles of Kwanzaa are unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith. One principle is celebrated each day, the first being unity.

Without speaking in detail or making any direct references, Radford suggested the current social climate creates a greater need for the community to show unity.

"Regardless of any divisions that may be among us, there are principles that we as a community can stand on that keep us unified," he said. "This year, more than ever, we need those principles to keep us unified."

Every night throughout Kwanzaa, programs will be hosted inside East High School, beginning at 7 p.m. Admission is free. 

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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