NewsCovering Kern County


Kwanzaa celebration returns to Bakersfield

KWANZAA December 29, 2021
Posted at 5:17 PM, Dec 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-29 21:06:49-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — This week is the celebration of Kwanzaa. As the annual Kwanzaa Harambee was shut down last year due to the pandemic it has finally returned to Bakersfield.

Stilt walkers, dancers, drums, and cultural artifacts are all part of the Kwanzaa Harambee, the local event that celebrates African culture.

“We definitely will see vendors, there’s about 10 of us here today. Dancing is definitely going to be happening, I’m going to be doing some of it. A whole bunch of artifacts please come and see them. They are all fantastic. I love the ones from Egypt, those are my favorite,” said Luther Gray, Youth Coordinator of MLK Community.

Gray said that artifacts from African countries such as Egypt, Ghana, and Nigeria are some of the most unique and beautiful things about his culture, and what better way to commemorate Kwanzaa and his African heritage than by inviting the community to learn about them.

“The happy faces that's the number one thing that makes me happy, especially in our community at the MLK center, to see people happy and moving with bright colors and moving and dancing it is such a beautiful thing,” said Gray.

Events like the Kwanzaa Harambee are a reminder to the public that regardless of what people look like on the outside everyone is one.

“It’s definitely important for everyone to attend events like this because of unity. It's the most beautiful thing that we can have. As far as people we are all the same, you know no matter our skin color no matter where we come from. We are all the same,” said Gray.

The seven principles celebrated from December 26th to January 1st are a reflection of the many ways of life the African culture follows.

“We just need to understand that as a community if we move together, we build together, we just make everything happen,” said Gray.

Every year the Kwanzaa Harambee aims to provide education about the African culture. The weeklong celebration continues until Saturday as each day is dedicated to a different principle to focus on and live by.