All about Kwanzaa (36828)

Three elders in New Jersey who are making a difference in the communities they serve are being honored at the annual celebration of Kwanzaa at NJPAC.

The elders are Assemblyman William D. Payne; Joan Whitlow, who was the first Black woman hired as a full-time reporter at The Star-Ledger and presently serves as acting chairperson of the Newark NAACP’s Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics; and Katunge “Mama” Mimy, who is an educator, counselor, performer of African folklore and dance and consultant in African-American history.

This year marks 50 years of Kwanzaa. Kwanzaa starts Dec. 26 and lasts for seven days, one for each of the Nguzo Saba (“seven principles” in Swahili). Kwanzaa is a celebration of community, family and culture.

The NJPAC Kwanzaa celebration begins Thursday, Dec. 15, and runs through Sunday, Dec. 18. The NJPAC’s Prudential Hall Lobby is being transformed into a Kwanzaa Artisan Marketplace, where vendors will display items for holiday shopping.

Saturday, families and children of all ages are invited to a free Kwanzaa Children’s Festival taking place from noon until 5 p.m. where kids of all ages can experience hands-on activities that share the true meaning of Kwanzaa. The event takes place at NJPAC’s Center for Arts Education, located on the NJPAC campus at 24 Rector St.

Also Saturday, NJPAC presents Forces of Nature Dance Theater with special guest Les Nubians with two special performances at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. The 2 p.m. Forces of Nature Dance performance will begin with A Tribute to the Elders.

Go to or call 1-888-GO-NJPAC for more information.