- The Washington Times - Friday, December 26, 2014

President Obama said there is “much to be thankful for” during Kwanzaa, which runs from Friday to Jan. 1, 2015.

“Michelle and I extend our warmest wishes to those celebrating Kwanzaa this holiday season. Today begins a celebration highlighting the rich African American heritage and culture through the seven principles of Kwanzaa — unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith,” Mr. Obama said Friday.

“During this season, families come together to reflect on blessings of the past year and look forward to the promises in the year ahead. As we remain committed to building a country that provides opportunity for all, this time of year reminds us that there is much to be thankful for. As families around the world unite to light the Kinara today, our family extends our prayers and best wishes during this holiday season.”

The Kinara is the candleholder that is used in Kwanzaa, a holiday created in 1966 by Maulana Karenga, who was born Ron Everett. He is now professor and chairman of the Department of Africana Studies at California State University, Long Beach, according to his website.

Mr. Obama’s message of Kwanzaa comes at a difficult time in the nation as racial strife has grown between blacks and whites during the last few months. Protesters have taken to the streets in Ferguson, Missouri, and Cleveland over police shootings and in New York over a police officer who administered a fatal chokehold on a suspect.

Recently, two New York police officers were fatally shot in their cruiser by a man who later killed himself and left social media messages about killing police as retaliation.

• Maria Stainer can be reached at mstainer@washingtontimes.com.

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