Geneva, NY — The founder of Kwanzaa, Dr. Maulana Karenga, will be the featured speaker at the African-American celebration on the campus of Hobart and William Smith Colleges on November 14.
Dr. Karenga’s speech is part of a unique celebration that has been put together by the African-American Student Coalition, in conjunction with several other student groups. The Kwanzaa celebration will be held from 7 until 9:30 p.m. on Saturday in the Winn-Seeley gymnasium. The festivities will offer the students, faculty, and members of the greater Geneva community the opportunity to celebrate the connection between African and American cultures. The evening plans will also offer an African dance troops and music, and a smorgasbord of food.
Karenga, a professor and chair of the Department of Black Studies at California State University in Long Beach, Calif., founded the celebration of African-American culture in 1966. Since then the annual event has grown and is now observed internationally by more than 13 million people. Karenga is the author of numerous scholarly articles and books including: Introduction to Black Studies and Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community and Culture, Commemorative Edition. He is the chairman of Organization Us and the National Association of Kawaida Organizations.
Youlanda Barber, a junior at William Smith College and a member of the AASC, was elated when she found out that Dr. Karenga had agreed to come to Hobart and William Smith Colleges and be the featured speaker at the campus’ Kwanzaa celebration.
“It’s important to have Dr. Karenga come. Bringing him here is our way of educating the community about African-American traditions,” says Barber, a Rochester native. “We’d like to make all people aware of the beauty in every culture and share our pride and joy in this tradition. We want to build our family.”
The Colleges’ event, which has been highly attended in recent years by the Geneva community, is again open to the public. This year, organizers are asking those attending the event to bring a food or clothing donation which will be given to the Center of Concern and the Salvation Army in Geneva.