NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Saturday, December 26, 2015, 9:00 PM
The African Burial Ground welcomed the Fusha Dance Company for a performance during the celebration of Kwanzaa Saturday.
Diani Tapsoba, who made the journey from her native Burkina Faso as an immigrant to this country where she settled in Harlem, took a far shorter trip Saturday to celebrate Kwanzaa.
The 48-year-old brought her two nephews and her niece to the African Burial Ground National Monument in lower Manhattan for the annual start of the seven-day holiday.
“Knowing your past makes you grounded,” said Tapsoba. “It’s important for parents to teach their children about African descent.
“When you know about your culture, it makes you more open to people,” she added.
Jimmy Cleckley (c.) of the National Park Service dances during Kwanzaa celebrations at the African Burial Ground.
Several children among the crowd on a gray morning were summoned to the rotunda of the monument building to read the seven principles at the celebration’s foundation: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.
Somaliah Williams, 33, came from the Bronx with her husband and their two daughters for the event.
“It gives them pride in their heritage and being African,” Williams said of Yosha, 9, and Enya, 3. “It’s important for them to know their roots, to connect with something positive and have that pride.”
Diani Tapsoba (C), from Burkina Faso, dances to celebrate Kwanzaa.
Geneva Ansley-Cornick, 16, of Brooklyn, grew up celebrating the holiday.
“I look forward to it every year because it’s refreshing to learn about African culture,” she said. “I think it’s beautiful to be close to your culture.”
President Obama and the First Lady, on vacation in Hawaii, recognized the holiday, saying, “Kwanzaa’s seven principles — unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith – are also shared values that bind us as Americans.”