By Verge “Brother Sage” Gillam
African American griot and community educator at Providing Options
Kwanzaa was originated by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966, and I have been celebrating it since 1967. Kwanzaa is important to me because it contains an African American value system, based on African principles from East Africa and Kenya in particular. Several years ago I researched my own family history and was able to trace my ancestors back to Ghana in West Africa. I am a proud diasporan African American man—and beyond my personal history, I believe that the principles of Kwanzaa are a good foundation to establish family values, which can be further expanded to show people throughout the world a unique, creative way of sharing love.