President Biden has made Kwanzaa an official U.S. government holiday. Examples:
Wikipedia says that the creator of Kwanzaa, Professor Maulana Karenga (formerly “Ron Everett”), is alive and well and working at California State University, Long Beach. Why hasn’t he been invited to the White House to light the kinara? Who knows more about Kwanzaa than the person who invented it, a couple of years after Kamala Harris was born:
Professor Karenga could also address systemic racism in our criminal justice system. From Wikipedia:
In 1971, he was convicted of felony assault, torture, and false imprisonment of women. He denied involvement and claimed the prosecution was political in nature. Karenga was imprisoned in California Men’s Colony until he received parole in 1975.
One of the victims gave testimony of how Karenga and other men tortured her and another woman. The woman described having been stripped naked and beaten with an electrical cord.
Deborah Jones, who once was given the Swahili title of an African queen, said she and Gail Davis were whipped with an electrical cord and beaten with a karate baton after being ordered to remove their clothes. She testified that a hot soldering iron was placed in Miss Davis’ mouth and placed against Miss Davis’ face and that one of her own big toes was tightened in a vise. Karenga, head of US, also put detergent and running hoses in their mouths, she said. They also were hit on the heads with toasters.
Karenga has declined to discuss the convictions with reporters and does not mention them in biographical materials. During a 2007 appearance at Wabash College, he again denied the charges and described himself as a former political prisoner.
And, of course, to readers who are celebrating, let me wish you a joyous and peaceful Kwanzaa. When I was growing up in Bethesda, Maryland, the first day of Kwanzaa (December 26) was a special time. Friends and family members would fill our home. We would listen to the elders tell stories. During dinner, we would discuss why the Hanukkah presents, e.g., socks, that we had received over 8 nights were so much crummier than all of the awesome Christmas presents that the neighbor kids had received in just one morning.
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