Jersey City Medical Center (JCMC), an RWJBarnabas Health facility, held a ceremony to observe Kwanzaa, a seven-day celebration of community, family and culture.
Kwanzaa is observed December 26 – January 1 and is centered on seven principles: Umoja (Unity); Kujichagulia (self-determination); Ujima (collective work and (responsibility); Ujamaa (cooperative economics); Nia (purpose); Kuumba (creativity) and Imani (faith).
The ceremony and program were organized by Mary Cataudella, Chief Human Resources Officer, and Leah Dungee-Maignan, Nursing Director for Maternal Child Services, and included participants Michael Prilutsky, President and Chief Executive Officer, who provided greetings and welcoming remarks, and Bernadette Johnson, Director, Surgical Unit; Kenneth King, Patient Satisfaction and Eliass Thomas, Patient Care Associate who shared the history of Kwanzaa and its seven related principles.
With a small group of employees gathered in a socially-distant fashion, the program was available to observe virtually, while Dungee, Johnson, King and Thomas shared the history of Kwanzaa, an overview of the Kinara and a review of the seven core principles.
Created in 1966 by Professor Maulana Karenga, a Professor of Pan-African Studies at California State University at Long Beach, Kwanzaa was created as a nonreligious celebration of family and social values.
During Kwanzaa, families traditionally gather to light the Kinara, a candle holder with seven candles in the colors of red, black and green.
The black candle is placed in the center and is used to light the other flames from left to right.
Together, the candles are called the mishuuma saba and they represent the seven core principles of Kwanzaa.
The Kinara will remain on display in the Medical Center’s main lobby until January 1.