Get ready to celebrate!

On December 27th, 2022, the Smith Family Foundation will be hosting its 6th Annual Kwanzaa 365 Celebration. The event will be hosted from 11 am to 6 pm at the Harambee Circle (1 Memorial Drive, Trenton, NJ 08608). Each year, the event focuses on a particular theme as the ethos of the celebration. For 2022, Imani, or Faith, is the guiding principle. Imani is defined as “the profound belief in and commitment to all that is of value to us as a family, community, people and culture.” Throughout the day, various speakers, authors, and performers will be speaking to this experience and uplifting the tales and experiences of African Americans throughout history.

The celebration features an incredible lineup of speakers and performers. In the Market Place room, guests can enjoy a variety of activities including:

  • Keynote Speakers Pastor Antonio Bellamy and First Lady Diane Bellamy of Transformation Church, who will be speaking on faith, family, and community.
  • A live performance from recording artist K-Li, an up-and-coming gospel artist
  • A presentation of the Central Jersey Performing Arts Academy’s all-new Kwanzaa stage play.
  • A performance from the children of Sprout U School of the Arts.
  • A speaking presentation from Andre Thomas
  • A performance from Ms. Ivey Avery, an artist and performing arts advocate.
  • Performances by Masters of Percussion (M.O.P.)
  • A dance performance from the performers of the Watson Johnson Dance Studio
  • A performance from the Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble

Guests of the celebration can also attend The Tale of the Diaspora, which explores various aspects of the diaspora of African Americans. Throughout the day, a variety of speakers will be presenting enthralling tales of African American history and culture. First, guests can enjoy a presentation from the Bucks County African American Museum. Lisa Toro will then be speaking about African American history in Trenton. Next, the Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum will explore the African American experience in Hopewell. Dr. Valerie Arthur will be speaking on Blacks in the Bible. Finally, Dr. Kobinah Abdul-Salim will be presenting a botanical walk-through Black history.

The event will also feature the House of Zawadi, which will feature a variety of activities for guests of all ages. Some of the featured activities include a gaming station, arts and crafts, a reading corner with local authors, free book giveaways, toy giveaways, and African storytelling. The event will conclude with the Kinara Lighting Ceremony, which will be live streamed from Trenton City Hall.

Kwanzaa is the annual celebration of African American culture. From December 26th through January 1st, each day has been assigned one of the Nguzo Saba, or the seven principles of Kwanzaa. These principles include Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa (cooperative economics), Nia (purpose), Kuumba (creativity), and Imani (faith). Each day, a candle is lit to observe the principle for that day. Even the colors of the candles hold significant meaning: the black candles represent “the people”, red represents the bloodshed in the fight for liberation, and green represents the future of liberation. The holiday culminates with Karamu, a communal feast on the last day of Kwanzaa.

This wonderful event to kick off Kwanzaa would not be possible without the support of the Smith Family Foundation. The Foundation prioritizes education, sustainability, transformation of lives, and urban ministry. Through their philanthropic support, the Smith Family Foundation cultivates leaders in the Trenton community and provides supports and resources for local residents. After a significant financial blessing, the Smith family made it their mission to strengthen the City of Trenton, Pearlie Smith’s hometown. Each day, the foundation sows seeds of hope in the community, improving dozens of lives in the process.

If you’re in the area, be sure to make it out to this year’s Kwanzaa 365 Celebration. If you have any questions prior to the event, please contact the Smith Family Foundation at (609) 888-6300 or online here: Contact Us. Whether you participate in the holiday annually or just want to learn more about the celebration, all are welcome to celebrate and uplift the rich history of African American life.

About Author