*President Barack Obama didn’t forget about those celebrating Kwanzaa this year.

He and his wonderful wife Michelle released a special holiday message for all the black folk observing the week-long journey through African American history and culture:

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 recognizes seven principles: unity, self determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith.

Kwanzaa was first celebrated in 1966 and is observed by an estimated 2 million Americans.

kwanzaa