Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

  • If you have story tips for The Hornet, the best way to reach us is via DM on Instagram!

The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

    The celebration of unity

    The UMOJA Community and Ethnic Studies Department at Fullerton College welcomed the campus community as well as the public to join in on their annual cultural tradition of celebrating the meaning of Kwanzaa on Dec.3 at the Wilshire Auditorium. The event featured an opening ritual, a discussion of the seven principles of Kwanzaa, guest speakers, and a reception.

    Kwanzaa is a holiday that celebrates family, unity, and the culture in the African American community throughout a span of seven days starting from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1.

    To draw in more students and the general public, the event was held in the evening this year at the Wilshire Auditorium rather than during early school hours which have been done prior.

    Photo credit: Christina Nguyen

    Ethnic studies professor Earnest Bridges strived to get rid of the misconception that surrounds the holiday, he stated that it is a cultural holiday, not a religious one.

    “It reflects on the families, it reflects on a community so bringing the two together no matter where you come from is all basic and symbolic across all cultures,” said Bridges.

    The event kicked off with an hour long reception where those who came were able to enjoy a hot and hearty meal that was provided by the Ethnic Studies Department. Guests were then invited back inside the auditorium to be seated while the opening rituals were ready to begin.

    Seven Principles of Kwanzaa
    Beatrice Jones and Janae Price presented in detail the meaning behind the seven principles of Kwanzaa while drummer John Beatty played traditional West African rhythms on stage. Photo credit: Christina Nguyen

    The opening ritual was opened by an ethnic studies student Janae Price while drummer John Beatty provided traditional West African rhythms for entertainment and effect throughout the evening.

    Followed by the ritual, speaker Beatrice Jones came on stage to explain the meaning behind the seven principles of Kwanzaa as well as the significance of each traditional object and practices that are carried out during the holiday.

    Special guest speaker, Dr. Dawn Person, Professor of Educational Leadership at Cal State Fullerton delivered an inspiring speech that focused on the first principle of Kwanzaa, “Umoja” which means unity.

    “It is a time for reflection, a time for commitment, a time for re-commitment, to us, to ourselves, to our community, to change, to improve our lives as people, as a community,” said Person. “It’s a time for us to connect with one another, connect through the spirit of unity that will see us through difficult times.”

    Dr. Dawn Person
    Dr. Dawn Person Professor of Educational Leadership at Cal State Fullerton presents a speech at the Quanzaa celebration event at the Wilshire Auditorium. Photo credit: Christina Nguyen

    Towards the end of the night, five FC students presented their written speeches, essays, and poems that related to the theme of the night to the audience. Although most of the speakers that presented were from the Ethnic Studies Department, some that participated were also from the English Department.

    FC student Karen Chingofor wrote a speech that was later presented by another student for her. Chingofor’s speech was about what Kwanzaa meant to her; although not familiar with the holiday before taking a course in African American Studies this semester, she finds that it’s a beautiful tradition that she may want to embrace.

    “Kwanzaa is more about the celebrating the people important in our lives, this holiday is not solely about the amount of gifts you can give someone nor is it based on the amount of things you can ask for”, said Chingofor.

    There were many familiar faces in the crowd, both faculty and administration members were present at the Kwanzaa celebration.

    Interim President of FC Dr. Greg Schulz was more than happy to have attended the event to show his support for the department and students. Schulz expressed that the speeches were very informative and he believes that the theme of Kwanzaa is what we should embody in our campus community.

    “The theme of Kwanzaa itself is extremely important to our campus community, in one sense it brings a lot of us together, to share experiences and knowledge,” said Schulz. “I think when we look at the events that have been happening around us, there’s no better time for a message like this.”

    While Kwanzaa is a holiday that specifically honors African American heritage, the meaning behind the traditions should be embedded in our daily lives despite our different backgrounds.

    Leave a Comment
    Donate to The Hornet

    Your donation will support the student journalists of Fullerton College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

    More to Discover
    Donate to The Hornet

    Comments (0)

    All The Hornet Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *