After an incredibly successful inaugural year, Kwanzaa Crawl returns to the streets of New York on Tuesday, December 26, 2017. Created in 2016 by Operation Mobilize founder Brooklyn-born comedian, writer, and activist Kerry Coddett (HBO, Comedy Central, MTV), the event is dedicated to celebrating and fostering unity, economic empowerment, and self-determination which are among the key principles of Kwanzaa. Last year Kwanzaa Crawl reached over 1,600 participants at 17 Black-owned businesses in Brooklyn. This year, the event will expand to include over 17 bars and restaurants across Brooklyn and 8 in Harlem. Kwanzaa Crawlers will meet up at 12 Noon: at The St. Francis School for the Deaf in Brooklyn and at CS 154 Harriet Tubman Learning Center, in Harlem, then split up into different groups to crawl across the boroughs. Tickets are $20 via the Kwanzaa Crawl official website kwanzaacrawl.com; a portion of the proceeds will go to social justice organizations Barbershop Books and The Blk Projek.
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Kwanzaa Crawl is a one-day event in Brooklyn and now Harlem where people of the African diaspora join to support the black owned bars in their neighborhood. Crawlers will be dressed in whatever makes them feel black and beautiful for a day of unity, fellowship and fun. Crawlers register by selecting which of the bars they’d like to begin their crawl. With their registration, they will receive a commemorative Kwanzaa Crawl cup and a wristband that gives them access to any of the participating venues. Led by a team leader for the duration of the event, they are encouraged to wear whatever makes them feel “unapologetically black” as they dance from bar to bar, enjoying good drinks, food, and company.
Since Kwanzaa Crawl is about working together in all aspects of community, to help facilitate a 360 approach to Black empowerment, a portion of the proceeds will also go towards The BLK ProjeK, who finds innovative ways to ensure that people living in urban areas have access to healthy foods, and Barbershop Books, a community-based literacy program that creates child-friendly reading spaces in barbershops for young Black boys. More information on the crawl can be found on www.KwanzaaCrawl.com.
What’s most noteworthy about Kwanzaa is that it’s about strengthening and celebrating the black family, community, and culture—all positive ideals worth honoring and respecting. Remember that all holidays are made up. What does Kwanzaa have to do with this bar crawl?
This crawl embodies all 7 principles of Kwanzaa. Kwanzaa Crawl is about bringing people in the community together, or Umoja, which means (Unity).
A team of black and brown creatives used the resources available to them to make an event of this scale happen. That’s both Kujichagulia (Self Determination) and Ujima (collective work and responsibility).
Kwanzaa Crawl creates an opportunity for black people to harness their buying power, and that’s Ujamaa (cooperative economics).
The planning, marketing, writing, and designing demonstrated Kuumba (creativity).
Creating an event which focuses on investing in your community to improve your quality of life is Nia (purpose).
Getting the owners of over 25 bars to open for business on the day after Christmas, with the hope that their community will show up is Imani (faith).