The event’s special guest speaker will be Dr. Maulana Karenga, the founder of Kwanzaa. He is a professor and chair department of Africana studies at California State University, Long Beach.
Karenga is recognized as an influential figure who has had a long lasting impact on black intellectual and political culture since the 1960s. He has played a vital role in an extensive amount of accomplishments ranging from the Black Arts Movement, Black Studies, the Black Power Movement, and many more.
“I think [Dr. Maulana Karenga] is a visionary,” Antonio Banks, director of the FC Umoja Program said. “To be able to put forth a holiday, I don’t even know how you start a holiday. I think something like that takes vision and passion. He seems like he’s embodied those things.”
The event’s theme is Kuumba, which is one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa. The word means creativity, or more specifically, “to do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.”
“Our goal with this entire event is to really higlight the role of art and creating a more beautiful community,” Arnetta Smith, professor of ethnic studies said.
“I really wanted to highlight the role of black artists and how art helps us move through the world. Art helps us heal from some of the oppression that we experience as black people living in the United States,” Smith said.
The Kwanzaa event is free for everyone to enjoy. Reception and food begins at 6 p.m. Meanwhile, the formal Kwanzaa program will begin at 7 p.m.
Entertainment will include performances by the KIPP’s Academy of Opportunity Youth Drumline, students and faculty. Professor Ernest Bridges will be directing the Kwanzaa ceremony.
“I’m really looking forward to meeting Dr. Karenga,” Smith said. “I got my [bachelor’s degree] in African-American studies so I’ve been studying him for years. And now I’m teaching about him and his philosophy in some of my classes. So just being able to actually meet him and get the chance to interact with him, I’m excited.”
To learn more about the event, please contact Arnetta Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.