ODI to host pre-Kwanzaa celebration

The Lantern
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The Office of Diversity and Inclusion is preparing a Pre-Kwanzaa celebration Friday in Hale Hall at 6 p.m. Credit: TNS

Immersion in African culture is the name of the game for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s  pre-Kwanzaa celebration Friday in Hale Hall.

The celebration, which will take place at 6 p.m., is intended to educate students on the values within African culture and provide them with an opportunity to appreciate their heritage, Andre Brown, assistant director of the Hale Black Cultural Center, an on-campus location which offers programs to support students of color, said.

“We want to make sure we have this opportunity to celebrate this new tradition and get students to appreciate the origins, their African ancestry, and it celebrates the seven principles of Kwanzaa, which are all in principles of empowerment for people of color,” Brown said.

According to the National Museum of African American History and Culture , the seven principles of Kwanzaa are unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.

Lawrence Williamson Jr., director of the center, said Kwanzaa is a seven-day celebration that takes place from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1, 2022.

According to ODI’s website , Kwanzaa was created in 1966 by Maulana Karenga — a professor and chairman of Black Studies at California State University, Long Beach — who combined different aspects of many harvest celebrations from various African tribes to form the new tradition.

Brown said different activities, including the traditional African drum call, performances by the African American Voices Gospel choir and speeches from officers of the Department of African American and African Studies, will be featured at the event.

ODI will also prepare dinner for attendees to enjoy during the event, Brown said.

Williamson said Richard “Moriba” Kelsey, a former Ohio State employee, began the pre-Kwanzaa celebration at the university around 1985. Kelsey wanted to give students who couldn’t celebrate Kwanzaa at home the chance to celebrate it with the Ohio State community.

“Dr. Kelsey felt by the Black Caucus celebrating it at OSU, it would at least expose students to the Kwanzaa experience,” Williamson said.

Anyone who is interested can attend the celebration, Brown said.

“It is open to the public and it is important that people of all ages attend, just so they can learn more about their African ancestry, their culture and the contributions of Black people from past, present and future,” Brown said. “It is important that we engage these students at an early age to have an affinity and appreciation for Black culture and Black history.”

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