Seven Days of Kwanzaa at Malcolm X College

December 26, 2008

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The teetering economy nearly down-sized the annual Kwanzaa observation at Chicago's South Side Malcolm X College. But it opens on schedule later today. Chicago Public Radio's Cate Cahan reports.

The African American holiday of Kwanzaa is a celebration of shared community values...like unity, self-determination and cooperative economics. Jessica Holloway runs the festival at Malcolm X. She says each speaker and performer is guided by those Kwanzaa principles, and she asks the same of any vendor.

HALLOWAY: If you're gonna be part of an African marketplace, please understand that this is not about making money, this is about sharing what you have with the community.

Holloway says that message of generosity was important as the economy sputtered.. Ad money and vendors weren't coming in. The festival's staff was cut. But Holloway says former staffers became volunteers and community appeals brought in the money needed for the 14th annual festival to go off as planned.

I'm Cate Cahan, Chicago Public Radio