President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama on Saturday marked the beginning of Kwanzaa with a salute to the "shared values that bind us as Americans."
"Michelle and I extend our warmest wishes to families across the country celebrating Kwanzaa this holiday season," the president said in a statement released by the White House.
"Today begins a weeklong celebration of African-American heritage and culture through family and community festivities," he said. "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. And in the spirit of the season, we reflect on the blessings of the past year and commit to building a brighter future for all our children.
"As families, friends, and neighbors come together today to light the Kinara, our family sends our best wishes for a happy and healthy new year."