Tag Archives: Kwanzaa

Worcester news you can use – always in style!


From Parlee Jones:

Community Kwanzaa Celebration – rescheduled for TONIGHT!

Kwanzaa: a Time of Reflection, Celebration and Family

Join us as we celebrate Kwanzaa! Bring a dish (Potluck) and enjoy entertainment and learn about Kwanzaa!

TONIGHT! Thursday, Jan. 5

6 pm to 8:30 pm

YWCA (One Salem Square, Worcester)

Parlee, center, and family








MARK YOUR CALENDARS! MLK JR. YOUTH BREAKFAST at Worcester State University – Saturday, January 14 – 9 a.m.


Join us as we celebrate Kwanzaa! Thursday, December 29 – 6 pm to 8:30 pm – at the YWCA

The awesome Parlee, center, and family!

From Parlee Jones:

Community Kwanzaa Celebration

Join us as we celebrate Kwanzaa! Bring a dish (Potluck) and enjoy entertainment and learn about Kwanzaa!

Thursday, December 29

6 pm to 8:30 pm

YWCA (One Salem Square, Worcester, MA 01608)


Kwanzaa: a Time of Reflection, Celebration and Family

By Parlee Jones

Kwanzaa is an African American and Pan-African holiday which celebrates family,community and culture. Celebrated from December 26th through January 1st, its origins are in the first harvest celebrations of African from which it
takes its name. The name Kwanzaa is derived from the phrase “matunda ya kwanza” which means “first fruits”
in Swahili, a Pan-African language which is the most widely spoken African language.

Last winter’s celebration!

The first-fruits celebrations are recorded in African history as far back as ancient Egypt and Nubia and appear in ancient and modern times in other classical African civilizations such as Ashantiland and Yorubaland. These celebrations are also found in ancient and modern times among societies as large as empires (the Zulu) or kingdoms (Swaziland) or smaller societies and groups like the Matabele, onga and Lovedu, all of southeastern Africa.

Kwanzaa builds on the five fundamental activities of Continental African “first fruit” celebrations: gathering; reverence; commemoration; recommitment; and celebration.


Kwanzaa, then, is:

• A time of gathering of the people to reaffirm the bonds between them;

• A time of special reverence for the creator and creation in thanks and respect for the blessings, bountifulness and beauty of creation;

• A time for commemoration of the past in pursuit of its lessons and in honor of its models of human excellence, our ancestors;

• A time of recommitment to our highest cultural ideals in our ongoing effort to always bring forth the best of African cultural thought and practice; and

• A time for celebration of the Good,the good of life and of existence itself, the good of family, community
and culture, the good of the awesome and the ordinary, in a word the good of the divine, naturaland social.”
From: www.officialkwanzaawebsite.org/origins


Dr. Maulana Karenga created Kwanzaa to introduce and reinforce 7 basic values of African culture which contributeto building and reinforcing family,commu-
nity and culture among African American people as well as Africans throughout the world African community. These principles stand at the heart of the origin and meaning of Kwanzaa, for it is these values which are the building blocks of community.

Umoja ~ Unity ~ To strive and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.

Parlee’s daughter, a WPS grad – and Bucknell sophomore!

Kujichagulia ~ Self-Determination ~To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves.

Ujima ~ Collective Work and Responsibility ~ To build and maintain ourcommunity together and make
our brothers and sisters problems our problems and to solve them together.

Ujamaa ~ Cooperative Economics ~ To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together.

Nia ~ Purpose ~ To make our collective vocation the building and developing of ourcommunity in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.


Kuumba ~ Creativity ~ To do alwaysas much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautifuland beneficial than weinherited it.

Imani ~ Faith ~ To believe with all our hear in our people, our teachers, our leadersand therighteousness and victory of our struggle.

The biggest thing about Kwanzaa we need to remember and practice is that we should be practicing the principles all year round.


That is where you find the strength of Kwanzaa.


Hope you can join us for Worcester’s Kwanzaa Week Celebration.

Each night of Kwanzaa there will be a celebration. Please remember, this is
a family event, so bring your children!
We are creating our village.

Worcester’s Kwanzaa Celebration will be held Thursday, December 29th at 6 pm at the YWCA. It is a potluck, so please bring something to share. No pork
products. Thank you!

Happy Holidaze to you and yours!

For the holidays! A Kwanzaa vegetarian feast!

From PETA.ORG ….

While most American holidays are “celebrated” with a dead animal on the dinner table (think Thanksgiving turkey or Christmas ham), Kwanzaa is especially suited to a vegetarian feast. Kwanzaa, which means “first fruits of the harvest” in Swahili, combines elements from traditional African harvest festivals. The week-long holiday, lasting from December 26 to January 1, culminates in the KwanzaaKaramu, a feast that draws on the cuisines of Africa, the Caribbean, South America, and the American South and features common ingredients such as sweet potatoes, okra, peanuts, black-eyed peas, and greens.

What should be left off the menu? Meat! On a typical factory farm, animals spend their entire lives confined to cramped stalls barely bigger than their own bodies; many go lame from lack of exercise or suffer from chronic respiratory diseases and bacterial infections. At the slaughterhouse, many animals are strangled, beaten, scalded, skinned, and dismembered–all while fully conscious.

Holidays should be a celebration of life–not death. We’ve compiled some of our favorite festive vegetarian recipes to help make your Kwanzaa Karamu cruelty-free and delicious!

Grilled Plantains

2 or 3 large plantains
Cayenne pepper, to taste

Cut the plantains into fourths crosswise, then slice each piece lengthwise. Sprinkle with cayenne pepper. Grill or broil just until tender, about 6 minutes. Serve warm.

Makes 4 servings.

West African Yam and Groundnut Stew

(From Some Like It Hot by Robin Robertson)

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium green or red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 lbs. yams, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
3 small fresh mild chilies, seeded and chopped
2 large tomatoes, chopped
4 cups vegetable stock
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
1/4 tsp. hot red pepper flakes
1 cup chopped roasted peanuts

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, bell pepper, yams, and chilies, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, stock, brown sugar, cinnamon, chili powder, salt, pepper, and hot red pepper flakes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Garnish with the chopped peanuts and serve.

Makes 8 servings.

Hip Hoppin’ John

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 6-oz. package smoked tofu, cut into small cubes
2 16-oz. cans black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
3 cups cooked white rice
1 1/2 cups cooked collard greens (or other dark, leafy greens), chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
Hot sauce, to taste

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté 5 minutes, until the onion begins to soften.

Add the smoked tofu, black-eyed peas, rice, and collards. Cook for 5 minutes or until heated through. Season with salt and hot sauce.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Read more: http://www.peta.org/living/food/kwanzaa-vegetarian-feast/#ixzz3LauSOu3L

Fun stuff to do … and let’s not forget the animals, city council and school committee!

Christmas Tree Lighting at Kelley Square!

December 2, Friday, 5:30 PM

Meet and have your photo taken with Santa, take a Wagon Ride, sing carols with District 4 City Councilor Barbara Haller and State Rep. John Fresolo, and enjoy yummy refreshments!


If you have a chance, please stop by the Boys and Girls Club of Worcester at 65 Tainter St. this Friday December 2, from 5 pm – 6:30 pm. The Brothers of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. will be co-sponsoring a KWANZAA CELEBRATION of FAMILY, COMMUNITY AND CULTURE!

There will be refreshments.


Some animal rights issues our elected officials should think about supporting

By Deb Young

Bringing Humane Education into our schools

There was the incident on Canterbury Street where it is believed children with pellet guns shot / killed 3 kittens and 1 adult cat.
What can come out of this tragedy?

Well, Private Citizens for Pets in Peril has started to get the word out on teaching children respect for animals.

It would be helpful if the Worcester Public Schools had a program regarding animal abuse and the impact it has on our society. Kids learn from the adults in their lives and unless someone sets a good example for the children and teaches them to have empathy, and that it is not acceptable to abuse animals, they will continue to think it is the normal way of life.

This idea was presented to the School Committee it made it to the Standing Committee. Can we get this done?

There is also a organization called Spay Worcester. The goal of the Spay Worcester task force is to work to reduce the population of free roaming cats in the city through spay / neuter and public education. The focus is providing basic medical care (spay neuter & rabies vaccinations) for free roaming & un-owned cats through responsible trap neuter return. SW will also seek to increase the resources available for low income spay /neuter for pet cats by working with other organizations. They believe that all cat populations must be addressed in order to see a decrease in Worcester’s free roaming cat population.

When people are given an opportunity, education and the means to do what is right. People will step up.
If we take on the responsibly of a pet, we care for this pet and it stays in their home, It breaks the cycle of disposable pets.
Neighborhood cats are community cats..they are here because of owned cats not being S/N and allowed to be free-roaming.

When kids ask SW what are they doing, SW always explains what they are doing and goals. These neighborhood kids become SW eyes and ears on the street. They are starting to recognize the impact of unaltered pets is having in their neighborhood. Their perception is changing, these community cats that have been hiding in plain sight is becoming visible to them, they are starting to see the suffering and pain these cats endure everyday… The kids become more confident and united in a common goal of helping these cats. The kids see that, helping these cats have a real impact in their neighborhood, their street and even their own back yard. Spay Worcester is supported by the mayor of Worcester, the Worcester City Council, and this support needs to continue!

While, “The circus is coming to town” might conjure up images of old fashioned family fun, behind the bright lights and the curtains, something sinister lurks—Horrific animal abuse.

Ringling Bros and other exotic animal circuses are appalling in the treatment of they’re animals that include Asian elephants and tigers.

Just as the circus is an old-fashioned entertainment business, so are the “training” methods they utilize to get the animals to perform!

Circus-goers need to be educated about what really goes on backstage, because if they knew, most would no longer go and animal circuses will become a cruel thing of the past…

Enlighten them and vote to ban exotic animal circuses in Worcester.

Right now Worcester requires Pit bulls to be leashed and muzzled, or placed in a secure temporary enclosure, when taken off the owner’s premises. It also will require consent of a landlord to keep a pit bull on the premises; placement of a warning sign informing the public that a pit bull is on the premises; and notification of animal control officers or the police by owners whenever their pit bull injures or threatens any person or animal.

This in not an effective way to control dangerous or potentially dangerous dogs, for many reasons, Including:

1) This type of situation does not impact dogs of other breeds who may be dangerous.
2) Such an approach unfairly brands all dogs of a particular breed, regardless of their behavioral history, as dangerous.
3) When communities concentrate their public protection efforts on specific breeds, they only address the dogs, rather than on dealing with the true cause of these threats to public safety: pet owner irresponsibility.
Punish the Deed not the Breed!

Between 25% and 40% of battered women ( in US) are unable to escape abusive situations because they worry about what will happen to their pets should they leave.
Many pet-owning women entering shelters reported that their batterer had injured, maimed, killed or threatened family pets for revenge or to psychologically control victims. Research also suggests that children who witness domestic violence are more likely to become abusers of animals.

Pets are sources of comfort & emotional support , Why can’t we work together with local rescues / shelters to provide temporary placement / foster for individuals in this position?

It is wonderful to see the City begin to address issues of animal overpopulation and abuse, and would be even more wonderful if the City Council became even more involved.

Many of these topics already have the support of the community, but the community needs the support of those who can be the “Voice of the Voiceless” and let us be heard!