PETITION FOR KWANZAA IN THE WHITE HOUSE
In 2001, George W. Bush became the first American President to light a Menorah in The White House, responding to a call from his supporters and igniting, in the citizens of America, a cross-cultural respect for the customs and holidays existing peaceably within this country. Obama, our first African-American President, on December 16, 2009, would continue the tradition, holding the 2nd largest Hanukkah bash in this White House history. Recognizing the Jewish holiday, President Obama released an inspiring Hanukkah message about faith, perseverance, and our common aspirations. And, with that, he and Michelle sent their "warmest wishes to all who are celebrating Hanukkah around the world."
Meanwhile, the media was aflutter with details about the lavish Hanukkah celebration, with Jewish supporters bickering over the who’s who of the Obama’s guest list. Those of us, founding this Petition, were simply left to wonder if the Obama's had given any thought to Kwanzaa and, perhaps, even considered sending an inclusive and inspirational message to 18 million of us worldwide, celebrating the African-American holiday; or, better yet, being the first to bring recognition of Kwanzaa to The White House.
Kwanzaa, founded in 1966 by Dr. Ron Maulenga, focuses on the traditional African values of family, community responsibility, commerce, and self-improvement. The 7 day holiday has gained widespread acceptance since its inception, yet, there are many who lack an understanding of Kwanzaa and its principles. While all African-Americans do not celebrate Kwanzaa, nor do all Jews celebrate Hanukkah. Recognizing these holidays in The White House, however, sends a message of inclusion, tolerance, and acceptance to the world, and particularly to the citizens of these ethnic groups, many of whom support the administration. We would like to charge Obama, our first African-American President, with the honor of bringing Kwanzaa to The White House.
The Petition for Kwanzaa in The White House was generated on December 24, 2009 in order to express, to the current administration, an interest by the people of the national and global communities, in the celebration of Kwanzaa, commensurate with the observance of other significant holidays publicly recognized by The President and First Family. PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS NOT A PROPOSAL FOR A MANDATE OR BILL OF ANY KIND, and that the petition is not to suggest that other holidays (i.e., Christmas and Hanukkah) should not continue to be observed by American Presidents as well.
All in support of the celebration of Kwanzaa in addition to current White House celebrations, are encouraged to sign the petition at http://www.kwanzaainthewhitehouse.org.
While we would like to send a whisper to the Obamas this Kwanzaa season, we will be circulating the petition throughout the new year, with hopes of seeing a White House Kwanzaa celebration in 2010. Kwanzaa news and information will be added to the site throughout the year.