Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center will offer a free family event celebrating African American heritage in the Bankhead lobby on Saturday, January 12, 2019. Central to the event will be an explanation and presentation of the Kwanzaa holiday, plus dancing, drumming, hands-on craft tables, and an African safari booth for all ages. A historical display will celebrate the contributions of African people in America, from Sojourner Truth to Neil deGrasse Tyson, Barack Obama and more.
The event is co-sponsored by Grandmothers Who Help, a locally-based organization dedicated to passing down the history of the African American people and promoting unity in our communities. The celebration at the Bankhead falls between the official dates of Kwanzaa (December 26, 2018 through January 1, 2019) and African-American History Month which is every February. The date is also a week prior to the Monday honoring Martin Luther King’s birthday, January 21, 2019.
Begun in 1966, Kwanzaa is derived from “matunda ya kwanza” which means “first fruits” in Swahili. The family-centered celebration typically includes songs, dances, drumming, storytelling and a large meal. On each of seven nights, candles are lit symbolizing the seven principles which contribute to building a reinforcing a sense of community and unity.
The new African-American event at the Bankhead adds to the free family-oriented cultural events Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center already sponsors throughout the year. The Lunar New Year will be celebrated on the plaza on February 10 and Hispanic Heritage Day in May. Celebrations of Native American Day, Filipino Barrio Fiesta and Diwali take place in the fall months.