Lincoln Center leader reflects on Kwanzaa in the QCA

Published: Dec. 29, 2021 at 10:38 PM CST
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - Kwanzaa is a seven-day celebration starting on Dec. 26, Wednesday marked the fourth day.

The Lincoln Center is a Davenport-based group that provides resources for the African-American community in the QCA. Executive Director Tracy Singleton says families and friends mark each day by lighting one of the seven candles on the kinara and discussing what the principle means to everyone.

“What we do each day is celebrate a component of what we should do as a community,” Singleton said. “To learn it understand exactly what it means to celebrate us.”

Each day of Kwanzaa celebrates one of seven principles: Unity, Self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.

Singleton said Kwanzaa is about both reflecting on the previous year while looking forward to the year to come.

“You talk about how you can go into your new year with these new understandings of how you can be a part of and contribute to your community,” Singleton said.

In years prior, the Martin Luther King Center in Rock Island held a celebration on the last day. However, due to COVID-19, they’ve had to go virtual this year and last year.

Singleton said the celebration was something her family looked forward to every year.

“It was an opportunity to see people that you may not have seen since the last Kwanzaa celebration, but to be able to come together once a year and celebrate together was a huge thing for us. I mean, it was something that was on my calendar every year.”

Singleton also said Kwanzaa is for all the community, no matter one’s religious or racial background.

“It kind of gets pinned as an African American holiday. This is an American holiday,” Singleton said. “This is for everybody. Because when you can come in and you can experience someone else’s culture, educate yourself on someone else’s culture, engage in someone else’s culture that equals understanding”

Kwanzaa’s last day celebrates Imani or Faith, on Jan. 1.

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