DAKAR, Senegal — Atlantic City native LaQuay LaunJuel along with the Marcus Garvey Institute of Human Development and several African leaders will hold an international Unity Day, on the first day of Kwanzaa, Dec. 26.
LaunJuel, an expat who graduated from Atlantic City High School and Stockton University said the event is, in part, a call for descendants of the diaspora to come home and invest in the African continent.
“We African Americans have the ability to save Africa from the second colonization of China,” said LaunJuel. “We cannot have unity if we don’t have peace and love.”
The celebration will be held live at the Place du Souvenir Africain, in Dakar, Senegal and be streamed globally through Garvey TV. The livestream will take place from 18:00-20:00 Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), which is 6-8 p.m. in London, or 1-3 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) in the United States. The celebration is free but requires registration at www.unityday.net .
LaunJuel said that some African Americans, whose ancestors came through the Middle Passage via the mid-Atlantic slave trade, feel abandoned by their long-lost African relatives. Unity Day Is an attempt at reconciliation, LaunJuel said.
“The core of the event is the African chiefs and villagers,” LaunJuel said. “They are making a call, a plea for their children, the children of the enslaved prisoners to return home. Any regrets, offenses, problems from the past, between us, this is the moment to squash it.”
Kwanzaa is an annual celebration of African American culture that runs from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1, created by Dr. Malauna Karenga in 1966. Karenga, who is expected to attend the celebration virtually, could not be reached for comment.
According to the Official Kwanzaa website, the seven principles of Kwanzaa, or the Nguzu Saba, are:
1. Umoja, or Unity, “To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.”
2. Kujichagulia, or Self-determination, “To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves.”
3. Ujima, or Collective Work and Responsibility, “To build and maintain our community together and make our brother's and sister's problems our problems and to solve them together.”
4. Ujamaa, or Cooperative Economics, “To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together.”
5. Nia, or Purpose, “To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.”
6. Kuumba, or 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.
7. Imani, or Faith, “To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.