President Obama, first lady release Kwanzaa holiday message

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President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama didn’t overlook the Afrocentric holiday of Kwanzaa this year.

The first couple released a statement yesterday commemorating the niche holiday via the White House:

Michelle and I extend our warm thoughts and best wishes to all those celebrating Kwanzaa this holiday season. Today marks the first day of the week-long celebration of African-American history and culture through the seven principles of Kwanzaa: unity, self determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith.

To many, Kwanzaa serves as a time of reflection–taking lessons learned from our past and looking forward to a more promising tomorrow. It reminds us that though there is much to be thankful for we must recommit ourselves to building a country where all Americans have the opportunity to achieve their dreams.

As families across America light the Kinara today in the spirit of unity, our family extends our prayers and well wishes during this season.

Kwanzaa, which is meant to honor and uphold African culture among black Americans, was first celebrated in 1966 and is observed by an estimated 2 million Americans.