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Kwanzaa celebration kicks off in Buffalo

Mayor Byron Brown raised the Liberation Flag in Niagara Square to start the festivities.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The weeklong celebration of Kwanzaa began at noon on Thursday, and the City of Buffalo will hold events celebrating the holiday until New Year's Day. 

It all kicked off in Niagara Square, where Mayor Byron Brown raised the Liberation Flag with members of the Buffalo Kwanzaa Committee.

The theme of this year's celebration is "The Afrikan Man, The Original Man, In Full Effect."

The celebration started in 1966. The holiday is observed by African-Americans and pan-Africans to celebrate family, community and culture.

A particular focus for this year's organizers is helping the community develop economically. The celebration began a larger effort to create social and economic opportunities beyond the holiday and into the New Year.

One of the week's events, the young entrepreneur marketplace, is designed to give young business owners a financial stake in their community. 

Along with the week's artistic performances and seminars, the marketplace is part of a larger effort by the community to embrace the spirit of Kwanzaa beyond the holiday season.

"You know, giving our children a mindset that say that we don't have to go out and work for somebody. We can work. We can create jobs. We can create our own jobs for other people to work for us," said Patricia Elliot, a Buffalo Kwanzaa committee co-chair.

Kwanzaa events will take place daily until the first of January.

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