PANAMA CITY- The 3rd annual Kwanzaa celebration kicked off Monday afternoon at the bay county public library.
"The community made me wants to do this event. Of course I was invited by the people of the n-double-a-c-p, but they didn't have to force me too much," said Destinee Steele, artist.
Maulena Karenga, a professor and chairman of black studies at California state university created Kwanzaa in 1966, as a for African Americans to reconnect with ancestral roots.
The celebration is non-religious; with its name inspired from the Swahili phrase "Matunda Ya Kwanzaa", meaning "first fruits of the harvest."
This year, the celebration started December 26th and will last until January 1st.
Participants celebrate the 7-day event by lighting a candle and examining one of the holiday's seven guiding principles.
The seven principles stand for unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.
"I’m really understanding my purpose and what god created me to do."
Britney Jackson the emcee of the event has been celebrating Kwanzaa 16 years now.
"You just kind of reflect and what that principle really means in your family or in your community," said Britney Jackson, event emcee.