Cincinnati Kwanzaa kicks off with unity celebration

CINCINNATI -- For more than 40 years, the citywide Kwanzaa celebration has presented history, entertainment and community.

With the start of this year's Kwanzaa on Tuesday, organizers arranged a celebration at the Linn Street YMCA with music and entertainment. 

It's a tradition that has earned one of the organizers, Dinah Yisrael, the nickname "Ms. Kwanzaa."

"They call me that because I've been going Kwanzaa so long, and we do it not only Dec. 26 to Jan. 1, we keep our Kwanzaa up all year long," Yisrael said. 

It's a non-religious holiday rooted in African-American culture about family and community. Among the dancing, singing, arts and crafts are seven principles that are celebrated. Each principle is represented by a candle. Day one is unity.

"We really want to focus on the development of the family unit," Kwanzaa celebration host Bakari Lumumba said. "We believe without having a strong family unit, you can't have strong communities and, thus, a strong culture."

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