New Festival at the Bankhead Explores Kwanzaa to Celebrate African American Heritage

When January 12, 2019

Where Bankhead Theater, 2400 First Street, Livermore, CA 94550

Amount FREE

The Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center will offer a free family event celebrating African American heritage in the Bankhead Theater lobby on Saturday, January 12, 2019. Attendees can expect an explanation and presentation of the Kwanzaa holiday, as well as 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 others.

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. Note the date is also a week prior to the Monday honoring Martin Luther King’s birthday, January 21, 2019.

A summary of Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa, a holiday first celebrated in 1966, is derived from “matunda ya kwanza,” which translates as “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 to symbolize the seven principles which contribute to building and reinforcing a sense of community and unity.

Let’s take a closer look at the principles of Kwanzaa:

  1. Umoja (unity) – To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race
  2. Kujichagulia (self-determination) – To define ourselves, as well as to create and speak for ourselves
  3. Ujima (collective work and responsibility) – To build and maintain our community together and make our neighbors’ problems our problems and to solve them together
  4. Ujamaa (cooperative economics) – To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and businesses and to profit from them together
  5. Nia (purpose) – To make our vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness
  6. Kuumba (creativity) – To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community better off than we inherited it
  7. Imani (faith) – To believe with all our hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

The new African-American event at the Bankhead adds to the free family-oriented cultural events the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center already sponsors throughout the year. The Lunar New Year will be celebrated on the plaza on February 10 while Hispanic Heritage Day will be observed in May. For those who want to plan ahead, celebrations of Native American Day, Filipino Barrio Fiesta, and Diwali take place during the fall of 2019.

A Performing Arts Center Committed to the Community

At LVPAC, we pride ourselves in putting on incredible concerts and performances throughout the year. But it’s events like these that really separate the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center apart from others. Through the Bankhead Theater and Bothwell Arts Center, we offer countless events each year, from classes and workshops to concerts and performances.

We hope to see you January 12, 2019 for this festival! Contact us today with any questions.