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Roberson, Harris team up for night 7 Kwanzaa ceremony

Sixth grader Evan Roberson, kneeling in front, lit the kinara candles on the last night of Kwanzaa Monday, Jan. 1.
(Eric Crump photos and video/H-F Chronicle)

Evan Roberson, a sixth grader at Parker Junior High, and Flossmoor resident Leonard Harris teamed up on Jan. 1 to handle the ceremonial duties for the last night of Kwanzaa.

Stephanie Wright, Flossmoor community engagement manager, introduced Evan, who was honored by Mayor Michelle Nelson and the Board of Trustees in June for his kindness and generosity.

“It’s my honor to introduce Flossmoor’s most famous resident, Evan Roberson,” she said. “Evan has a very generous spirit and is always bringing a smile to the faces of the municipal workers and small business owners around town.”

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Evan lit the seven candles on the village kinara in Flossmoor Park. The kinara was built several years ago by Nelson.

Wright then introduced Harris, who spoke on the significance of the theme for the seventh night, Imani, or faith.

According to the Official Kwanzaa Website, the seventh night is for committing “to believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.”

Harris first reminded those gathered about the significance of the candle colors on the kinara.

“The black candle represents the people. The red candles represent our ancestors and the sacrifices they made to bring us to where we are today, and the green candles represent the future,” he said.

He said the seventh principal of Kwanzaa, faith, brings the other principals together and uniting Black people.

“I can remember — I’m 79 years old — when I was a kid, we didn’t want to be called Black. We didn’t want to own our african ancestry,” he said. “Dr. (Maulana) Karenga put together Kwanzaa for the purpose of giving us a purpose, pride, responsibility, bringing us together as a universal community.”

He concluded by leading the gathering in chanting “harambe,” which means “let’s pull together” in starting the new year.

“We hope to be a better person; raise a better, stronger family; and a stronger community,” he said.

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