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Kujichagulia’s Racial Equity Forum and Kwanzaa Gala Will Be an “Elegant Celebration of Black Resilience”

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Kujichagulia-Madison Center for Self Determination will be hosting the 1st Annual Racial Equity Forum and Kwanzaa Gala on Friday, Dec. 27 at The Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor’s Club in downtown Madison.

 The event will be part racial equity/2020 Wisconsin forum and part Afropolitan Gala/Kwanzaa celebration, according to organizers, combining for an overall night of elegant celebration of black resilience.

“We’re hoping to have a wide range of Madison’s African-American community at the event from all kinds of income backgrounds and backgrounds in life,” says Annie Weatherby-Flowers, who has been busy organizing the event. “I want to hear voices from across the board. I’m always trying to look at ways to empower folks who look like me who are often not at the table when decisions are made. I want to get those different perspectives.”

Annie Weatherby-Hayes

Kujichagulia is the second principle of Kwanzaa and honors self-determination. It is celebrated on day 2 of Kwanzaa, December 27. 

Weatherby-Flowers is the founder (along with Mona Adams Winston) of Kujichagulia-Madison Center for Self-Determination, a non-profit that promotes African-American cultural and educational events here in Madison.  The first part of Kujichagulia’s event, from 5:30-7 p.m., will be a racial equity forum where people will discuss black middle-class alienation and black low-income marginalization. Invited participants include Ben Wiker, State Rep. Shelia Stubbs and Carl Walton.

“We are going to look at 2020 in terms of Wisconsin and racial equity and having a conversation about issues that add to the black middle-class alienation and poor black marginalization,” Weatherby-Flowers tells Madison365. “We going to have those important conversations about what their visions are for involving and integrating the issues of African Americans, in particular, or black folks across the African diaspora that lives here in Wisconsin.”

The Racial Equity and 2020 Wisconsin Forum & Afropolitan Gala is one of the many events hosted by Kujichagulia Madison Center for Self-Determination, which works to unite Madison area African-American communities to address the collective issues that place certain sectors of its community at risk for economic and social disparities such as drug addiction, criminal justice system involvement, homelessness, health-related issues and academic failure.

“This is an event to talk about Kujichagulia and put it in the minds of the people. The Gala will be a great opportunity for that,” Weatherby-Flowers says. “There is going to be a Kwanzaa Celebration and there will be awards for our four matriarchs that we lost this year.”

Those four beloved Madison-area African-American women who passed away this year are Dr. Virginia Henderson, Addrena Squires, Dr. Fannie Frazier-Hicklin and Mother Jacqueline Wright.

Kwanzaa, the holiday created by Ron Karenga in the ’60s to give African Americans an alternative to the existing holiday and an opportunity to celebrate themselves and history, will be celebrated at the event. Traditionally in Madison, the Citywide Kwanzaa Celebration has been hosted by Edith Hilliard, who has been involved with Kwanzaa since the very first one.

“Edith [Hilliard] is going to be out of town this year and she wanted me to include a Kwanzaa Celebration,” Weatherby-Flowers says. “So we will be doing a traditional libation ceremony collectively in honor of Kwanzaa.

“We will have some great live performances with [opera star] Prenicia Clifton, Alex Lodge, Rob Dz. Lots of great local folks. And we’re going to have some dancing and soul food.”

It’s an opportunity to support Kujichagulia’s efforts to share stories, learn a little bit, network and build relationships in the community. 

“It’s going to be a day of ‘elegant resilience’. But also looking at community and the issues that affect us collectively,” Weatherby-Flowers says. “We want to empower Madison’s black community to be a more effective part of the greater Madison community.”

Kujichagulia-Madison Center for Self Determination will be hosting the 1st Annual Kwanzaa Gala on Friday, Dec. 27, 5:30-9:30 p.m. at The Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor’s Club in downtown Madison. For more information, click here.