Morgan State Celebrates Kwanzaa Early

????????Morgan State University volunteers teamed up with Baltimore youth for the annual pre-Kwanzaa celebration in the University Student Center on Saturday to teach the children the history and importance of the upcoming holiday.

“The event gives a heads up to the original date of celebration,” says Community Service Director Deanna Ikhinmwin. She hopes the young people will also be inspired to go to college after visiting the campus and getting acquainted with student volunteers. “Kwanzaa isn’t religious, it’s conscious. The whole concept of the holiday embodies warmth, friendship and interaction.”

Approximately 250 volunteers and 300 kids participated in the event, according to Ikhinmwin. Most of the volunteers consisted of parents and students. Youth ages ranged from elementary to high school. A majority of the student volunteers were campus organization members. Each volunteer was assigned to a table with one or two kids to interact with during the event.

Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. member Justin Johnson helped a young boy with Kwanzaa arts and crafts, but wanted to make a bigger impact than just help with decor. “I want to give guidance to the youth,” says Johnson.  “A lot of kids don’t have a role model to look up to. I want to be a male figure they can aspire to be.”

Music, games, exhibits, dancing, art, storytelling and a feast all took place at the celebration. Vendors outside the Calvin and Tina Tyler Ballroom sold goods, as well. The opening ceremony consisted of a speech by Ms. Morgan and the calling out of many influential names in Kwanzaa.  The youth  lighted the seven principles of Kwanzaa candles, pronounced some holiday vocabulary and engaged in arts and crafts. In addition to that, the young people got a piece of the Morgan culture with a step show by the Greeks.

Twelve-year-old Christopher Banks was delighted with the event. “I learned a lot about Kwanzaa and I liked everything.”

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