The Coast Comes Together To Celebrate Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa is a celebration of family, community and culture.  It's a celebration of African-American culture deeply rooted in its African ancestry.

"Our history is a culture of survival, support and faith, and somehow Kwanzaa helps to define that," said Father Charles Andrus.

Umoja - unity, Nia- purpose, Imani - faith are just three of Kwanzaa's seven principles. They are principles, for those who celebrate the holiday, to strive to achieve and practice throughout the year.

Those who came out say while it's important for everyone to learn the rich legacy of their heritage, it's even more important for the youngest members of the community to understand its significance in their lives.

"Coming together as a people and teaching our youngsters the strength of the people of the past, we can go forward," says Andrus.

"They need to know their heritage and where they come from.  Coming to these celebrations really helps them," says Flora Craft of Gulfport.

Muhindi or corn is just one of Kwanzaa's symbols.  It represents the children, the future.  The children took an active role in celebrating their heritage.  Youngsters from Pass Road Elementary performed an African dance during the celebration.

Those who gathered say each year the celebration provides an opportunity for everyone to learn more about their past and celebrate the importance of coming together to unite as a community.