Synthia SAINT JAMES’ USPS stamp designs include the first Kwanzaa Commemorative Stamp in 1997 (a total of 318 million stamps was printed using her first design), and the new 2016 Forever Kwanzaa Stamp celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Kwanzaa holiday.
Editor’s Note: Kwanzaa is not a religious holiday. It is celebrated by African Americans each year from December 26 to January 1 recognizing seven important principles, and culminating in an edible feast and gift giving. It was first celebrated during the civil rights movement in 1966 and it celebrates African heritage, unity and culture, created by Dr. Maulana Karenga, scholar, professor and chairman of black studies at California State University, Long Beach.
Kwanzaa originated from the Swahili phrase malinda ya kwanza, which means first fruits of the harvest. The weeklong celebration, from December 26 through January 1, uses seven candles in a candelabra symbolizing the seven principles of Kwanzaa below:
- Umoja (Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
- Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): To define and name ourselves, as well as to create and speak for ourselves.
- Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems and to solve them together.
- Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics): To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
- Nia (Purpose): To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
- Kuumba (Creativity): To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
- 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.
To find out more about Kwanzaa, visit the official website at: http://www.officialkwanzaawebsite.org/index.shtml
This article originally published 11.22.2017 at TribeLA Magazine
More Synthia tomorrow…