Orange Coast College to celebrate Kwanzaa with appearance by the holiday’s creator

38th KwanZaa Gwaride parade
Participants march in a Kwanzaa parade in Los Angeles in 2014.
(File Photo / Los Angeles Times)

Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa will host Kwanzaa creator Maulana Karenga for a discussion Wednesday afternoon, followed by a commemoration of the holiday, which celebrates African heritage and identity.

Karenga is scheduled to speak at 12:30 p.m. at the college’s Multicultural Center in the Global Engagement Center at 2701 Fairview Road.

Karenga, a professor and chairman of the Department of Africana Studies at Cal State Long Beach, is the writer of the Nguzo Saba, or seven principles of African heritage — umoja (unity), kujichagulia (self-determination), ujima (collective work and responsibility), ujamaa (cooperative economics), nia (purpose), kuumba (creativity) and imani (faith).

Kwanzaa is a week-long secular holiday that runs each year from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1. Karenga created Kwanzaa in 1966 to be the first pan-African holiday and it was first celebrated that year.


Karenga was active in the Black Power movement of the 1960s and ’70s and co-founded the activist group US Organization, or Organization Us, in 1965. He currently serves as its national chairman. He also is on the executive council of the national organizing committee for the Million Man March.

Karenga’s appearance Wednesday will be followed by a free celebration from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Multicultural Center featuring a Kwanzaa ceremony, cultural foods and performances by dancers and the Long Beach African Drum Group.

Visitors can park in the Adams Lot at Fairview Road and Adams Avenue.

For more information, contact the Global Engagement Center at or (714) 432-5940.


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