Kwanzaa Celebration of Family and Culture

What is Kwanzaa?

Kwanzaa is a week-long (December 26 – January 1) African American holiday to celebrate family, community, and culture. Dr. Maulana Karenga Professor of PAN-African Studies at California State Long Beach, CA, founded the Kwanzaa celebration in 1966, in the aftermath of the Watts Riots Black Freedom Movements.

The name Kwanzaa is derived from a Swahili phrase, “matunda ya kwanza,” which means “first fruits” (harvest). Kwanzaa was not created to give people an alternative to their religion or religious holidays but to reaffirm and restore our African culture’s rootedness. Most Kwanzaa celebrations are based on the seven principles (Nguzo Saba) and seven symbols. Every day of the celebration, the family lights one candle and focuses on one of the principles in conjunction with one of the symbols.

The Seven Principles:

  • Unity (Umoja): Striving for and maintaining unity in the family and the community
  • Self-Determination (Kujichagulia): Defining oneself and speaking for oneself
  • Collective Work and Responsibility (Ujima): Building and maintaining a community and making our brother’s and sister’s problems our own and solve them together
  • Cooperative Economics (Ujamaa): Building and maintaining our businesses for ourselves and each other
  • Purpose (Nia): To build and develop our collective communities together
  • Creativity (Kuumba): To do whatever we can to leave our communities more beautiful than when we inherited them
  • Faith (Imani): To believe with our hearts in our people, our families, and the righteousness of our struggle
(image courtesy of*/happy-kwanzaa-2020-template-design)


The Seven Symbols:

Kwanzaa celebrations usually include a special mat called a mkeka in which all the other symbols are placed. On this mat are placed a candle holder called a kinara, seven candles which are collectively called Mishumaa Saba, mazao (fruits, nuts, and vegetables), a unity cup called Kikombe cha Umoja, an ear of corn called vibunzi and zawadi or gifts. (



Why is Kwanzaa important? 

As I began to learn more about celebrating Kwanzaa for this AAA-ERG Blog post, I continued to ask myself this very question.

The phrase “cultural connectedness” is the quality and quantity of a person’s connection to others that is at the heart of the Kwanzaa celebration. If you want to make positive changes in a community or even a diverse workplace like Argonne, it starts with ensuring your culture aligns with your values.

Kwanzaa’s seven principles and Argonne’s Core Values share the commitment to building a culture of collaboration, integrity, creativity, and making a positive impact on common goals. In addition, the guiding principles of Kwanzaa emphasize the value of the relationship for how family unity is a bridge for stronger communities which leads to developing a positive and fruitful culture of togetherness.

For more information about Kwanzaa:

Events in 2022:

Monday, December 26
6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Like to paint? You can do so at Bottles and Bottega in Arlington Heights.


Tuesday, December 27
10:00 am – 6:00 pm
City Colleges of Chicago to Host Kwanzaa Celebration at Malcolm X College


Wednesday, December 28
12:00 – 2:00
The DuSable Black History Museum and the Bolozi Wazee/Shule Ya Watoto present a Kwanzaa observance program


Gourmet’s Delight Cheesecake Pickup/Delivery

Gourmet’s Delight Cheesecake – Pickup/Delivery

  • When:  Monday, October 31, 2022.
  • Time:  12:00 pm – 1:30 pm
  • Where: APS 401 Lower Gallery

The Argonne African American Employee Resource Group (AAA-ERG) would like to express our sincere thank you to everyone who brought cheesecakes or shared a donation to help us raise money for the AAA-ERG Scholarship Fund. Proceeds from this needs-based scholarship go to top local high school students entering college and pursuing STEM degrees.

Gourmet’s Delight Cheesecake Fundraiser 2022

The Argonne African American Employee Resource Group (AAA-ERG) is holding a cheesecake sale to raise money for the AAA-ERG Scholarship Fund. Proceeds from this needs-based scholarship go to top local high school students entering college and pursuing STEM degrees.

Gourmet’s Delight Cheesecakes are handmade and come in 14 flavors that measure nine inches in diameter and are pre-sliced into 14 restaurant-size portions. It’s a perfect holiday dessert to share with family or enjoy alone whenever you want a delicious treat.

Cheesecakes are delivered frozen and should be refrigerated (40° F) or frozen within six hours of delivery. Cheesecakes last up to six months in the freezer. Buy some to eat now, freeze some to eat later.

The assortment of cheesecakes is available for sale now through Thursday, October 20th. Payment: Cash, Check, Zelle, Venmo, or Cash App) payment is also due by October 20th.

Pickup/Delivery will on Monday, October 31, 2022. Time and date: TBD

Use the attached brochure to identify your selections, make your selections on the fillable form, and send to any of the AAA representatives below.

Justin H. S. Breaux [email protected]
Arista Thurman, III [email protected]
Scott Ehling [email protected]
Robyn Wheeler Grange [email protected]

Click to download PDF file: 

Annual Lab Director’s and Dr. Walter McFall Memorial Run and WalK

Walter McFall was a research scientist at Argonne National Laboratory who shifted into recruitment and helped diversify the ranks of engineers.

This year’s event will also serve as a memorial for Dr. Walter McFall, one of the Argonne Running Club’s founding members. During his 40-year long career as an accomplished Argonne scientist, Dr. McFall mentored thousands of early career scientists and helped recruit talented scientists, especially women
and people of color, to work at the lab. Dr. McFall died last year at the age of 87.
All employees are invited to celebrate the life of Dr. McFall and participate in either the 3.3-mile run or 1.3-mile walk. Event participants will receive vouchers for 100 Virgin Pulse Points. Registration opens on the day of the event. Volunteers will serve refreshments at the finish line.

Date: Tuesday, September 27th
Time: 11:45 am – registration opens / Noon – race starts
Place: TCS Building 240 Gazebo area (Near TCS Entrance/Northeast side)
~ 3.3-mile run and ~ 1.3-mile walk
Refreshments at the finish. All employees welcome!

Virgin Pulse 100-point vouchers.

Hosted By:

Juneteenth Celebration

Juneteenth is a portmanteau of June and nineteenth, and it identifies the date June 19,1865 that Union Troops led by Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas and announced the end of the Civil War and abolition of slavery.

The Civil War ended April 9, 1865.

The Emancipation Proclamation ending slavery in confederate states was signed by President Abraham Lincoln January 1, 1863.

The 13th Amendment abolished Slavery in all the states, December 6, 1865

All of these dates were relevant in the freedom of African Americans from slavery, but June 19th is the one that is celebrated because it was the day that freedom reached those slaves in the most southern confederate state Texas; that were still in bondage even though they had been declared free almost two and a half years earlier by President Lincoln’s Proclamation.

We can celebrate Juneteenth and demonstrate Argonne’s Core Values of RESPECT for our African American coworkers; IMPACT on the relationships between African Americans and other ethnic groups; and INTEGRITY as we recognize how we can and should get along with one another.