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The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

Kwanzaa: A night of celebrating community, culture and family

The Ethnic Studies Department and Umoja Program welcomed students and community members to the 21st annual celebration of Kwanzaa inside the Wilshire Auditorium on Friday, Dec. 8.

Before the event began, attendants were treated with a performance by the KIPP Academy of Opportunity Drumline. Their performance began outside and transitioned smoothly into the auditorium.

The KIPP Academy of Opportunity is a prestigious free public charter middle school located in South Los Angeles. Their mission is to make certain that students develop the necessary skills that will make them successful in competitive high schools, colleges and the world beyond.

Once the Drumline’s performance finished, co-hosts Arnetta Smith and Antonio Banks, took the stage to introduce the evening’s program.

“We’re really excited to have you all here tonight,” said Banks, the director of the Umoja Program at Fullerton College. “Thank you for joining us on a Friday night, you guys could be anywhere in the world but you’re with us, we appreciate that.”

Former FC student Tracey Wallace was then invited on stage to perform “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

“At first I was a little nervous,” said Wallace. “As a singer, no matter how nervous you are, once you get going you’re fine.” Wallace showed no sign of nervousness as she stunned audience members with her talented voice.

Former FC student Tracey Wallace singing "His Eye is on the Sparrow." Photo credit: Edwin Flores

After Wallace’s performance, Professor Ernest Bridges conducted the opening ceremony which involved lighting seven candles that each individually represent the seven principles of Kwanzaa.

Janae Price then explained what each principle means. The first principle is Umoja, which means unity, the second principle is Kujiechagulia, or self determination. Next is Ujima, which is defined as collective work and responsibility. Then, Ujamma refers to cooperative economies. The fourth principle is Nia which means purpose. In addition, Kuumba, which was the event’s theme, means creativity. Finally, Imani, the last principle, is defined as faith.

After the explanation, the founder of Kwanzaa, Dr. Maulana Karenga, presented “Practicing the Principles of Kwanzaa: Repairing, Renewing and Remaking Our World.”

His presentation stressed the need to preserve, continually revitalize and promote African-American culture. He explained that if you can not celebrate yourself, you can not celebrate Kwanzaa. Kwanzaa is about celebrating the good, the good of life.

In its modern origins, Kwanzaa celebrates the recovery of African-American history and culture. Karenga finished his presentation by stating, “The world belongs to all of us,” which resulted in a standing ovation by the audience.

“It was an enlightenment,” said Gerald Padilla, professor of ethnic studies. “We are a very diverse school and he gave recognition to that total diversity, but he also focused in on everyone else. So he looked at the microcosm of the macrocosm which is FC.”

Ethnic studies professor Arnetta Smith performing "One Day." Photo credit: Edwin Flores

To finish the event, Smith performed “One Day.” Her performance began by showcasing a video about police brutality against African-Americans. With her face painted, she lip-synced and danced.

“It was fantastic,” said Bridges in regards to the event. “We had the innovator, the spirit behind the celebration, just for him to be with us was awesome.”

“This was a monumental experience, it’s not an event, it’s an experience.”

For more information about future events, please contact the Ethnic Studies Department via email at [email protected].