Duncanville Celebrates Independence Day and Friendship Day in July

While July is not designated as one of the “heritage” months, we might reflect on what “independence” and “freedom” mean in terms of multiculturalism and learn more about our own national holidays, including Friendship Day, and also learn something about Canada Day.

Independence Day, also called the Fourth of July or July 4th, is the annual celebration of nationhood in the United States. It commemorates the passage of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, and was celebrated this last Sunday.

According to professor of history David L. Waldstreicher, “During the early years of the republic, Independence Day was commemorated with parades, oratory, and toasting in ceremonies that celebrated the existence of the new nation. These rites played an equally important role in the evolving federal political system. With the rise of informal political parties, they provided venues for leaders and constituents to tie local and national contests to independence and the issues facing national polity.

“With the growth and diversification of American society, the Fourth of July commemoration became a patriotic tradition which many groups—not just political parties—sought to claim. Abolitionists, women’s rights advocates, the temperance movement, and opponents of immigration (nativists) all seized the day and its observance, in the process often declaring that they could not celebrate with the entire community while an un-American perversion of their rights prevailed.

“With the rise of leisure, the Fourth of July emerged as a major midsummer holiday. The prevalence of heavy drinking and the many injuries caused by setting off fireworks prompted reformers of the late 19th and the early 20th century to mount a Safe and Sane Fourth of July movement. It remains a potent symbol of national power and of specifically American qualities—even the freedom to stay at home and barbecue.”

Reference: https://www.britannica.com/topic/Independence-Day-United-States-holiday

How do “independence” and “freedom” relate to the importance of respect for all? Certainly, we can all work on our freedom from prejudice, our independence from an obsessive focus on materialism, and an endorsement of beneficial and altruistic qualities that help to bring about unity.

And what about our neighbor to the north, with its separate history? Canada Day, observed on July 1st, is a national holiday marking the anniversary of Confederation in 1867 when the British North America Act came into effect. It was originally known as Dominion Day until it was renamed in 1982.

Celebrations were originally organized at the local or municipal level and included a wide array of activities, including bonfires, picnics, sporting events, parades, pageants, and fireworks. It became an opportunity for communities to express their visions of Canadian identity, and the place of their community within the country. People could also express concerns about the treatment of individual provinces and marginalized communities. In British Columbia, members of the Chinese and Japanese communities in the early 20th century contributed floats to Dominion Day parades, and members of Indigenous communities participated in sporting events and musical performances.

In the mid-1920s, British Columbia’s Chinese communities organized Chinese Humiliation Day as a counterpoint to Dominion Day to protest the 1923 Chinese Immigration Act that blocked most Chinese immigration to Canada. Members of the community wore badges reading “Remember the Humiliation,” organized speeches, and distributed leaflets. Throughout the 1970s–1990s, a clear emphasis on bilingualism and multiculturalism was maintained in federal messaging about Canadian identity. Representations of Indigenous peoples shifted substantially over these decades, moving from an emphasis on assimilation to a greater celebration of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit cultures, including performances in Indigenous languages on Parliament Hill by the 1990s.

Since the late 1980s, Canada Day festivities in the capital, Ottawa, have included formal ceremonies on Parliament Hill, with speeches by dignitaries, an inspection of the military guard by the governor-general, and elements such as music, dance, and fireworks, all televised on the CBC and Radio-Canada.

Reference: https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/canada-day

Another great thing to celebrate: July 30 is International Friendship Day, and there are various dates for National Friendship Day, including August 1. But why not celebrate it all year long?

First proposed in 1958 in Paraguay, it has been promoted by the greeting cards industry, and now on the Internet, particularly in India, Bangladesh, and Malaysia. Mobile phones, digital communication, and social media have contributed to popularize the custom.

Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friendship_Day

We may have many friends, but we may find that most of our good friends are similar to us. Perhaps they are of the same racial or ethnic group, educational level, socio-economic status, or religious or political persuasions. We tend to feel safe with the familiar, but how much richer our lives can be when we widen the circle! Our life experience will always be limited if we only associate with those who already share our beliefs, cultural or racial background, and experiences.

Through friendship, we can contribute to fundamental shifts that are urgently needed to achieve peace and stability and generate interest in creating a better world where all are united for the greater good.

Here’s a quotation that might inspire us: “If you desire with all your heart, friendship with every race on earth, your thought, spiritual and positive, will spread; it will become the desire of others, growing stronger and stronger, until it reaches the minds of all.” —Abdu’l-Baha  

The multi-cultural commission wishes to acknowledge and celebrate the diversity of all kinds in Duncanville, and we appreciate everyone’s efforts to do so as well. At the very least, we can enjoy the summer season and be open to new friendships.

May July be a meaningful, productive, fun, safe, liberating, and friendship-oriented month for all!

Article Submitted by Anne Perry, Commissioner
Multicultural Social Engagement Partnership (MSEP)

Learn more about the Multicultural Social Engagement Partnership.

Duncanville Celebrates “Pride” Month, June 1–30, 2021

pride month pridge flagJune is designated as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. According to the Library of Congress, “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Pride Month commemorates the events of June 1969 and works to achieve equal justice and equal opportunity for LGBTQ Americans.”

What happened in 1969? Patrons and supporters of the Stonewall Inn, a Greenwich Village of Lower Manhattan, New York, staged an uprising to resist and protest police harassment of LGBTQ Americans. This marked the beginning of a movement to outlaw discriminatory laws and practices against them.

In 1998, President Clinton issued Executive Order 13087 (PDF) expanding equal opportunity employment in the Federal government by prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. On June 11, 1999, he issued Proclamation No. 7203 (PDF) for Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, which states: Thirty years ago this month, at the Stonewall Inn in New York City, a courageous group of citizens resisted harassment and mistreatment, setting in motion a chain of events that would become known as the Stonewall Uprising and the birth of the modern gay and lesbian civil rights movement. Gays and lesbians, their families and friends, celebrate the anniversary of Stonewall every June in America as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month.

On June 1, 2009, President Obama issued Proclamation No. 8387 (PDF) for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. In this proclamation, Obama pointed out contributions made by LGBTQ Americans, in promoting equal rights to all regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity and in broader initiatives such as the response to the global HIV pandemic. The President ended the proclamation by calling upon the people of the United States to “turn back discrimination and prejudice everywhere it exists.”

Other Presidential Proclamations on the annual observances of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Month can be found through American Presidency Project.

Reference: https://www.loc.gov/law/help/commemorative-observations/pride.php

In addition to embracing LGBTQ lifestyle choices, many young people today question gender norms and the “binary” nature of the division between “male” and “female.” Some do not wish to be known as or identify with the gender they were born as; others go to lengths to change their gender—something unheard of in previous eras. A film that depicts the first man who sought a gender change and is well worth watching is “The Danish Girl.” I found that it evokes empathy toward those who do not “identify with” their birth gender.

It serves us all to try to understand these changes in consciousness and lifestyles, whether or not we fully understand or support them. Perhaps this is all a part of a larger quest for human liberation from the shackles of prejudice and oppression.

On a different note, June also celebrates World Environment Day (June 5); National Cancer Survivors Day (June 6); Flag Day (June 14); World Blood Donor Day, and the US Army Birthday (June 14); Smile Power Day (June 20). It also commemorates PTSD and Cataract Awareness.

Reference: https://www.pinmart.com/awareness-calendar/

According to another source, June also includes Hug Your Cat Day and National Donut Day (June 4); National Gardening as Exercise Day (June 6); Best Friends Day (June 8); National Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Day (June 9); National Splurge Day (my favorite!) (June 18); and of course, the first day of summer and the longest day of the year (June 20/21).

Reference: https://www.thespruce.com/reasons-to-celebrate-in-june-4164029

If you want to celebrate National Donut Day (any day of the year) see Duncanville donut listings here: https://www.duncanville.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Restaurant-Guide-7-16-2014-CURRENT.pdf

If that’s not enough, here’s another one that is particularly appropriate to mention: Race Unity Day, also known as Race Amity Day, is observed the second Sunday in June. The day was started by the Bahá’í National Spiritual Assembly in the United States in 1957, and the goal is to raise awareness of the importance of racial harmony and understanding.

Reference: https://www.holidaysmart.com/holidays/daily/race-unity-day

The multi-cultural commission wishes to acknowledge and celebrate diversity of all kinds in Duncanville, and we appreciate everyone’s efforts to do so as well. At the very least, we can all splurge a little, practice tolerance for all lifestyles, and celebrate Smile Power!

May June be a meaningful, productive, fun, and liberating month for all!

Article Submitted by Anne Perry, Commissioner
Multicultural Social Engagement Partnership (MSEP)

Learn more about the Multicultural Social Engagement Partnership.

Duncanville Celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander Month, May 1–31, 2021

The month of May is rich with holidays, cultural celebrations, and religious observances.

In addition to commonly known and celebrated holidays such as May Day, Mother’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, and Memorial Day, there are lesser-known designated days such as National Chocolate Parfait Day, National Loyalty Day, National Mother Goose Day, National Scrapbook Day, National Paranormal Day, National Day of Prayer, National Eat What You Want Day, National Talk Like Yoda Day, and many others.

Reference: https://nationaltoday.com/may-holidays/

Religious holidays during May include Shavuot (Jewish), Pentecost (Christian), Vesak (Buddhist), Milad Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin (Islamic), the Ascension of Bahá’u’lláh and the Declaration of the Báb (Bahá’í). Among the residents of Duncanville are members of each of these religious communities.

In terms of HERITAGE, May also commemorates not one but THREE Groups: Older Americans, Jewish Americans, and Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders.

Reference: http://diversitycentral.com/calendar/heritagemonthguide.php

Many of us can relate to the older group, and some Duncanville residents claim Jewish heritage. But how many Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders might we have in our fair town? According to local census statistics, 2.1 percent of the Duncanville population is Asian and .1 percent Pacific Islanders. It’s time to celebrate this aspect of diversity in our midst!

Both categories of people are broad. According to the Census Bureau, an Asian is “a person having origins in the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including Indonesia, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam.”

The U.S. Census Bureau defines Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander as “a person having origins in any of the original people of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands.”

An obvious way to appreciate Asian cultures is to support the five or six Japanese and Chinese restaurants in our town.

Learning about other cultures is also a sure way to gain understanding, awareness, and empathy. For example, it is interesting to learn that Chinese immigrants came first, to work on the railroads and gold mines in the mid-19th century. Hawaii has the largest Asian American population—nearly 800,000. More than half of all Pacific Islanders live in two states—Hawaii and California.

Reference: https://nationaltoday.com/asian-american-and-pacific-islander-heritage-month/

We might also learn to cook some Asian or Hawaiian dishes, perhaps by exploring markets in the Dallas area such as H Mart, Ko Mart, Hiep Thai, Hong Kong Market, and Mozart Bakery.

Another way to express appreciation is simply to be kind and friendly towards others we see. Sadly, since the pandemic began, incidents of hatred toward Asian Americans have increased. What might we do to help heal this unfortunate outcome of ignorance and prejudice?

Cultivating our taste for films that tell stories about Asians or Pacific Islanders is a great thing to do. Two of my favorites are “Departures” (Japanese) and “Slum Dog Millionaire” (Indian).  The recent film “Minari,” about a Korean family who moves to Arkansas, was nominated in the Academy Awards as one of the best pictures of 2020, and Yuh-Jung Youn, who plays the grandmother, just won the Oscar as supporting actress. The film was also nominated for best director, best original screenplay, and best original score. Last year, another film, “Parasite,” won multiple awards.

Celebrating Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders is important because they contribute greatly to the U.S. economy and to the strength of our communities, and our awareness of them and their various and diverse cultures will help to further racial and ethnic unity.

The multi-cultural commission wishes to acknowledge and celebrate diversity of all kinds in Duncanville, and we appreciate everyone’s efforts to do so as well.

Happy month of May!

Article Submitted by Anne Perry, MSEP Commissioner
Multicultural Social Engagement Partnership (MSEP)

Duncanville Celebrates National Hispanic-Latino History Month – September 15, 2020 to October 15, 2020

Article Submitted by La’Trena Barrett, Commissioner
Multicultural Social Engagement Partnership (MSEP)

The 2020 Hispanic Heritage Month Theme is:

Hispanics: Be Proud of Your Past, Embrace the Future

Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402.

The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.

Reference:  https://www.archives.gov/news/topics/hispanic-heritage-month 

To learn more, view each Presidential Proclamation:

Did You Know?

  • 60.6 million – The Hispanic population of the United States as of July 1, 2019, making people of Hispanic origin the nation’s largest ethnic or racial minority. Hispanics constituted 18.5% of the nation’s total population.
  • 12 – The number of states with a population of 1 million or more Hispanic residents in 2019 — Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

Reference: https://www.census.gov/newsroom/facts-for-features/2020/hispanic-heritage-month.html

Notable Hispanic and Latino Americans

Sonia Sotomayor, Celia Cruz, Lin-Manuel Miranda, César Chávez, Sylvia Rivera, Emma Gonzálex, Olga E. Custodio, Macario García, C. David Molina, Rita Moreno, Julia Alvarez, Roberto Clemente, Alfonso Cuarón, Dr. Ellen Ochoa, Laurie Hernandez, Jaime Escalante, Frida Kahlo, Gloria Estefan

Educational Links

The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the generations of Hispanic Americans who have positively influenced and enriched our nation and society.  

Click Here to Learn More About Hispanic Heritage Month

Visit the Smithsonian Latino Center to learn more about:

  • Celebrating Influential Latinos in American History
  • Building A National Latino Gallery
  • Latino History is American History

Learn more about the Multicultural Social Engagement Partnership.

Duncanville Celebrates Irish-American Heritage Month

Article Submitted by Zebulon (Zeb) Williams, Multicultural Social Engagement Partnership (MSEP) Chairman of the Commission

Irish-American Heritage month is a celebration and a way to honor the achievements of Irish immigrants to the United States.  The month was first officially celebrated in a national capacity in 1991.  Irish-American Heritage month is highlighted by Saint Patrick’s Day on the 17th of March.  Saint Patrick’s Day is a day that the Irish honored the saint who brought Christianity to Ireland in the fifth century. Americans have since modified the meaning of the holiday to celebrate all things Irish.

As one celebrates Irish Heritage it is important to understand how so many from Ireland come to the United States in the first place.  Irish immigrants first came to the United States to escape religious persecution.  The first Irish settlers in Texas had settled the towns of San Patricio and Refugio in south Texas.  A much larger population of Irish had come to Texas and the United States during the Irish Potato Famine in the 1840s.  During the time of the famine, Ireland lost approximately 1 million people to starvation and another million people had immigrated out of Ireland. In the years after the famine, the Texas population of Irish had tripled. 

As with many cultures, food and agriculture are a staple to the Irish way of life.  Archaeological evidence has shown that farming in Ireland started around the time when humans first began to settle.  Some families in Ireland can trace their farming and stock livelihoods back 200 generations.  In the Irish culture there is a special emphasis on food and drink.  While socializing over an Irish Whiskey or a Guinness beer many Irishmen will still eat meals that resemble that of their ancestors.  Meals involving stews, cabbage, cereals, and potatoes are a commonplace around the dinner table.

While the Potato Famine caused a lot of suffering during the 1800s.  Potatoes also saved many families.  The rich soil and heavy rains allowed families to raise and harvest multiple potato crops through the year.  The potato also supported large families who may not have had the land to grow other crops to feed and nourish an entire family.  To this day Irish households consume about two and a half times the amount of potatoes as other family households around the world. 

Grow Potatoes in a Bucket

New, fresh potatoes are a treat. You don’t need a whole field, just a few tools and a bucket!

You will need:

1 food grade 5 gallon bucket (potatoes dislike sunlight!)

a permanent marker

something to make holes in the bottom of the buckets (Drill)

dirt (Ideally a top soil, compressed peat, and manure mix)

2 potatoes

Step 1: Preparing the Bucket

First you’ll make some holes in the bottom of the bucket in order to drain the soil. It’s important because potatoes can rot if there is too much water around them. Once done make a mark 4 inches from the bottom of the bucket, and another 10 inches up from that mark.

Step 2: Planting Potatoes

Before making the bucket start by sprouting the potatoes until the potato has a ¾ inch sprout. Then fill the buckets up to the 4 inch mark with soil. Place the potatoes with the sprout facing towards the top on top of the soil, taking good care of the fragile sprouts. Then fill the bucket up to the next mark with soil. Finally give the potatoes a good amount of water. The soil will pack around the potatoes, so it can be necessary to add more soil. Remember, potatoes must not get any kind of light. Place the buckets so that the holes on the bottom are free to drain and in a light spot, but avoid direct sun. Give the potatoes enough water but don’t let them soak.

Step 3: Harvesting

When the potato plant begin to bloom the first harvest is ready!


The Duncanville Multicultural Social Engagement Partnership (MSEP) is a commission that serves under the City Council and is charged with:

  1. Establishing a partnership with the community to have the most engaged citizenry in America
  2. Develop an image as a family-oriented community locally and regionally
  3. Develop a brand for the community focusing on the goal of “Duncanville is the Basketball Capital of Texas” and leveraging this brand to enhance sports tourism
  4. Develop ways to engage citizens between 18-30 years of age to become more engaged in Duncanville
  5. Promote citizen participation and engagement in government; and to foster cooperative relationships among diverse citizens in order to fulfill the needs and desires and Duncanville’s diverse community

Duncanville Celebrates African American History Month – February 2020

Article Submitted by Dr. Lavern J. HolyfieldMulticultural Social Engagement Partnership (MSEP) Commissioner

National African American History Month highlights the contributions that African Americans have made to American history in their struggles for freedom and equality and the impact of this culture on our Nation’s history.

Carter G. Woodson, a Harvard-trained historian believed it important to raise awareness of the contributions of African American civilization.  Woodson founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (later renamed the Association for the Study of African American Life and History – ASALH).  Through this organization, in 1925, Woodson conceived and introduced Negro History Week. The event was first celebrated during a week in February 1926 that encompassed the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. 

The celebration was expanded to a month in 1976, the nation’s bicentennial. President Gerald R. Ford urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” That year, fifty years after the first celebration, the association held the first African American History Month. By this time, the entire nation had come to recognize the importance of Black history in the drama of the American story. Since then each American president has issued African American History Month proclamations. And the ASALH continues to promote the study of Black history all year.

Above:  Excerpts from https://africanamericanhistorymonth.gov/about/

The City of Duncanville is a diverse community with a history of African American leadership over the years.  Today, we feature some of the current African American Leaders in Duncanville.

Mark Cooks , Duncanville City Council Member District 4

Text Box: (Photo submitted by Mr. Cooks)
Mark Cooks
  1. How long have you been a resident of Duncanville?  14 years.
  2. What attracted you to the city?  I moved to Duncanville because of a new housing community that was being built. I wanted my family to be a part of a growing community just like the one I grew up in.
  3. What does African American month mean to you? Black History month has many different connotations for different people, but its importance to me comes from a place where I want to be reminded of my heritage and the many sacrifices and accomplishments made by those who have journeyed before me and to whom I am forever grateful. Black History month is a time of reflection; whether good or bad, it reminds me to continue looking forward and celebrating as our country recognizes the many contributions and the sacrifices made to afford us the liberties and the rights we enjoy today.

Patrick Harvey, Duncanville City Council Member At-Large

Text Box: (Photo submitted by Mr. Harvey)
Patrick Harvey
  1. How long have you been a resident of Duncanville? My family has lived in Duncanville since 1989.
  2. What attracted you to the city? There are many fine, quiet neighborhoods and homes with character, centrally located in the DFW Metroplex.
     
  3. What does African American history month mean to you?  African American history is essentially the story of America told from the perspective of those who have contributed mightily while waiting to experience and enjoy the fullness of the American experiment.

Cassandra Phillips, Vice President, Duncanville ISD Board of Trustees

Text Box: Ms. Phillips (right) and Board President Carla Fahey organize coats for distribution to students.
Cassandra Phillips

1.      How long have you been a resident of Duncanville?  I have been a proud and active resident of the City of Champions for 21 years.  

2.      What attracted you to the city?  While searching for our first home, location and schools were a top priority.  We ended up winning on both with a great location and exceptional schools.  

3.      What does African American history month mean to you?  For me, African American history month means a time for us to celebrate our ancestors.  A time to reflect on the struggles, sacrifices, contributions, and accomplishments of those who paved the way for us. 


The Duncanville Multicultural Social Engagement Partnership (MSEP) is a commission that serves under the City Council and is charged with:

  1. Establishing a partnership with the community to have the most engaged citizenry in America
  2. Develop an image as a family-oriented community locally and regionally
  3. Develop a brand for the community focusing on the goal of “Duncanville is the Basketball Capital of Texas” and leveraging this brand to enhance sports tourism
  4. Develop ways to engage citizens between 18-30 years of age to become more engaged in Duncanville
  5. Promote citizen participation and engagement in government; and to foster cooperative relationships among diverse citizens in order to fulfill the needs and desires and Duncanville’s diverse community

Kwanzaa 2019 in United States

Observance: Thursday, December 26 through Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Article Submitted by Dr. Lavern J. Holyfield, Multicultural Social Engagement Partnership (MSEP) Commissioner

Kwanzaa is a week-long pan-African holiday created by Dr. Maulana Karenga, a professor of Africana Studies, in 1966.  Observed in the United States and other nations of the African diaspora in the Americas from December 26 to January 1, this annual celebration honors African heritage in African-American culture.    Dr. Karenga envisioned it as a time to reflect the  best of African thought and practice in its reaffirmation of the dignity of the human person in community and culture, the well-being of family and community, the integrity of the environment and our kinship with it, and the rich resource and meaning of a people’s culture.

The focus of this period is the celebration of family, community, and culture.  Activities during this period are organized around the Seven Principles (pictured below). During the seven days, participants celebrate with feasts, music, dance, poetry, and narrative.  Kwanzaa has seven core principals and seven core symbols:

Day Seven Core Principles, or Nguzo Saba Seven Core Symbols
12/26 Umoja: Unity – To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race. Mazao: Crops – Mazao symbolizes the fruits of collective planning and work, and the resulting joy, sharing, unity and thanksgiving part of African harvest festivals. 
12/27 Kujichagulia: Self-Determination – To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves. Mkeka: Place Mat – Just as the crops stand on the mkeka, the present day stands on the past. The mkeka symbolizes the historical and traditional foundation for people to stand on and build their lives.
12/28 Ujima: Collective Work and Responsibility – To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems and solve them together. Muhindi: Ear of Corn – The stalk of corn represents fertility and the idea that through children, the future hopes of the family are brought to life. One vibunzi is placed on the mat for every child in the family.
12/29 Ujamaa: Cooperative Economics – To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together. Mishumaa Saba: The Seven Candles – Candles are ceremonial objects that serve to symbolically re-create the sun’s power, as well as to provide light. There are three red candles, three green candles, and one black candle that are placed on the kinara.
12/30 Nia: Purpose – To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness. Kinara: The Candleholder – The kinara represents our ancestry, and the original stalk from which we came.  
12/31 Kuumba: Creativity – To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it. Kikombe Cha Umoja: The Unity Cup – On the sixth day, the libation ritual is performed to honor the ancestors. Every family member and guest will take a drink together as a sign of unity and remembrance.
01/01 Imani: Faith – To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.   Zawadi: Gifts – On the seventh day of Kwanzaa, gifts are given to encourage growth, achievement, and success. Handmade gifts are encouraged to promote self-determination, purpose, and creativity.

There are seven candles – one black candle, three red candles, and three green. Each represents one of the seven principles guiding Kwanzaa. They are placed in the mishumaa saba in a specific order.

The holiday ends with a day dedicated to reflection and recommitment to the Seven Principals and other central cultural values, culminating in gift-giving and a feast.  

The Seven Principles
Mishumaa Saba (The Seven Candles)
These are symbolic of the Nguzo Saba, the Seven Principles, the matrix and minimum set of values which African people are urged to live by in order to rescue and reconstruct their lives in their own image and according to their own needs.

Source:  The OfficialKwanzaaWebsite.org (http://www.officialkwanzaawebsite.org/index.shtml)
(https://www.interexchange.org/articles/career-training-usa/history-principles-and-symbols-of-kwanzaa/)

The Duncanville Multicultural Social Engagement Partnership (MSEP) is a commission that serves under the City Council and is charged with:

  1. Establishing a partnership with the community to have the most engaged citizenry in America
  2. Develop an image as a family-oriented community locally and regionally
  3. Develop a brand for the community focusing on the goal of “Duncanville is the Basketball Capital of Texas” and leveraging this brand to enhance sports tourism
  4. Develop ways to engage citizens between 18-30 years of age to become more engaged in Duncanville
  5. Promote citizen participation and engagement in government; and to foster cooperative relationships among diverse citizens in order to fulfill the needs and desires and Duncanville’s diverse community