By Jennifer L. Warren
NEWBURGH – The African-American heritage is a rich, deep, extensive, and very relevant one. For all of those reasons, and many more, Sadie Tallie is determined to do everything possible to keep it alive on multiple levels.
The Black History Committee of the Hudson Valley Chairperson, Tallie has been involved with the group and its mission to not only educate people on the African-American heritage, but bring all of the community together, since 1956. For the past 15 years, one of the pivotal events of the Group has been the Annual Kwanzaa Celebration. Friday night, that critical streak continued, as several people throughout the Hudson Valley Region congregated at Mt. Calvary Fire Baptized Church in the City of Newburgh to take part in the third night of Kwanzaa, paying tribute to the Principle “Ujima,” (Collective Work and Responsibility.)
“It’s important for the community to have an event like this because we have such a rich history, and we want to make sure that everyone, especially the young people, are aware of it as well as the resources available to them, and during Kwanzaa we have the opportunity to do just that.”
Inside the Church, there was indeed a wide assortment of activities aimed at promoting this special holiday, running from December 26- January 1. In addition to the singing of the Negro National Anthem, Prayers & Meditation, as well as Libations, the evening included cultural expression, featuring New Beginners Praise Dancers as well as poetry readings. A Kwanzaa Candle Ceremony & Zawadi followed. A Kwanzaa Table, complete with a Unity Cup as well as corn and fruit, symbols for the children who will grow, held the large candle holder. On this night, a red one, standing for blood, was lit. Other colored candles, such as green for the growth and abundance of the African people were also part of the holiday’s many traditions, including the celebration of The Seven Principles – one each night: Unity, Self-Determination, Collective Work and Responsibility, Cooperative Economics, Purpose, Creativity, and Faith.
Paulina Dillard, has been in attendance at the Annual Kwanzaa Celebrations for the last 10 years. It’s an event she looks forward to each year.
“This is such an important event because Kwanzaa is a celebration of our heritage, and we learn about The Seven Principles,” said Dillard. “It’s also an event where you can come together with people from the Hudson Valley, friends and neighbors.” She added, “Since I’m involved with the community and its youth, one of my favorite Principles is Purpose, because as you involve yourself with the community, the other Principles, such as Creativity, becomes important as does Faith because it’s what carries us through life; the belief in God builds your spirituality.”
This year, the theme that is embedded in each of the Black History Committee events is: “Our Beloved Community…Going Forward.”
“This theme means we are taking this year to observe positive things happening in the community and tying them together,” said Tallie. “It’s all very important to do so, for our elders, children and the overall community.”
Next up for the Committee is its Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, held in Newburgh on January 21, 2019 and expected to have a large turnout as many exciting activities, workshops and other positive and enlightening events are planned.