The U.S. Postal Service dedicated its new Kwanza Forever Stamp during a ceremony that took place at America’s Center Ferrara Theater in St. Louis.
“USPS is honored to continue in the celebration of Kwanzaa — a communal tradition that has grown to hold special meaning to millions of people since its inception in 1966,” said Eddie Banner, USPS Kansas-Missouri district manager, who served as the dedicating official. “I am pleased to dedicate this colorful and festive stamp in honor of Kwanzaa.”
Joining Banner for the ceremony were master of ceremonies Tracie Berry-McGhee, founder of the SisterKeeper Empowerment Center; Jeanice L. Baker, president of the St. Louis Metropolitan Alumnae Chapter Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.; Cheryl McNeil, fixed assets and sales use tax manager customer service at Edward Jones Investments; Cheryl Jordan, pharmacy benefit implementation specialist at Lumeris; and Erin Robinson, stamp artist and Emmy nominated illustrator.
“Kwanzaa reminds us to be intentional in making an impact within our families, communities and culture — to build bridges not barriers,” said Baker. “We are excited and honored to have partnered with the United States Postal Service in unveiling this beautiful Forever stamp.”
The stamp design depicts two children — a girl and a boy — standing together with a kinara (candleholder) and the seven lit candles (mishumaa saba) in front of them. They are dressed in robes akin to spiritual garments. A light-blue circle behind the children’s heads represents wholeness and unifies the figures, and a mosaic motif frames the background.
Art Director Antonio Alcalá designed the stamp with original artwork by Erin Robinson.
The Kwanzaa stamp is sold in booklets of 20. News of the stamps is being shared with the hashtag #KwanzaaStamps.
Each year, millions of African Americans gather with friends and family throughout the week of Kwanzaa to honor the Pan-African holiday’s seven founding principles — unity (umoja), self-determination (kujichagulia), collective work and responsibility (ujima), cooperative economics (ujamaa), purpose (nia), creativity (kuumba), and faith (imani).
Kwanzaa is a festive time for rejoicing in the prospect of health, prosperity, and good luck in the coming year. It is also a time for contemplation and recollection of past hardships, faced by both individuals and communities, and the ways in which history can inform and impact future happiness.
With origins in ancient and modern first-harvest festivities occurring across the African continent, Kwanzaa incorporates and reimagines many communal traditions as a contemporary celebration and reaffirmation of African American culture.