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National Conference Celebrating 50th Anniversary of the Nguzo Saba, The African American Cultural Center and the organization Us
By Sentinel News Service
Published September 17, 2015

A wide range of Black scholars, activists, teachers, students and community members from around the country will gather together in Los Angeles, September 24 – 27, 2015 at the National Nguzo Saba 2015 Conference and Awards Luncheon to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of The Nguzo Saba (The Seven Principles) the African American Cultural Center, and the Organization Us.

This national conference will focus especially on the Nguzo Saba and its use by thousands of organizations and institutions in this country and around the world as a tool for cultural grounding, value orientation and programmatic initiatives. Among the major presenters will be Dr. Molefi Asante, Chair of African American Studies, Temple University and founding theorist of Afrocentricity; Mr. Danny Bakewell, Sr., Executive Publisher/CEO, Los Angeles Sentinel; Dr. Julius Garvey, son of the Hon. Marcus Garvey and Mrs. Amy Jacques Garvey; Dr. Maulana Karenga, professor and chair of the Department of Africana Studies, California State University, Long Beach, Executive Director of the African American Cultural Center and creator of the pan-African holiday, Kwanzaa; Dr. Haki Madhubuti, renown poet and Publisher/CEO, Third World Press; Assemblymember Dr. Shirley Weber, (D-San Diego), longtime educator and author of AB953 to end police racial targeting and other progressive bills, and Dr. Cornel West, professor of philosophy and Christian practice at Union Theological Seminary and a preeminent representative of the Black prophetic tradition.

Highlights of the conference include 1) a teachers workshop on ways to create an African-centered culturally grounded educational environment; 2) a Community Town Hall among national and local community leaders, activists and everyday people on such topics as police violence, education, mass incarceration, economic empowerment, community building, organizing for social change and other topics relative to the lived experience and critical initiatives of the Black community; 3) an Awards Luncheon honoring women and men from the global African community who have made significant contributions to Black life, history and culture with a keynote address by Dr. Molefi Asante and a poet reading by Dr. Haki Madhubuti; 4) a conversation with Dr. Julius Garvey on the legacy and exoneration of his father; and 5) a dialogue between Dr. Maulana Karenga and Dr. Corner West, two of the most important activist scholars of our times, on critical issues facing Black people and the world and rebuilding the Black Freedom Movement.

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The Nguzo Saba (The Seven Principles) were conceived and developed a half century ago in 1965 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, who is also the executive director of the African American Cultural Center and chair of The Organization Us. The Nguzo Saba in Swahili and English are Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity) and Imani (Faith). These values are most widely known as the core values of the African American and pan-African holiday Kwanzaa which is a celebration of family, community and culture.

Over the last fifty years these Seven Principles have been increasingly embraced by African peoples in the United States, on the African continent and throughout the global African community.

The Nguzo Saba have demonstrated practical usefulness in such varied areas as educational curricula, rites of passage and other youth programs, family and male/female relations, spirituality and ethics, economic development, political organization, creative production, principles of organizing and, physical and psychological well-being, as well as African-centered value grounding by people in their daily lives.

Held every five years, this year’s national theme is “The Seven Principles and Us: Celebrating and Sustaining Family, Community and Culture” and includes engaging the Nguzo Saba in the context of the fifty-year history and significant impact of the Organization Us on Black intellectual, creative and political culture. Also, panel discussions and presentations will demonstrate the many ways The Nguzo Saba are best used to build and strengthen Black families, communities and culture.

The African American Cultural Center (Us) will host the National Nguzo Saba 2015 Conference and Awards Luncheon at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel, 6101 W Century Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90045. For more information please contact the African American Cultural Center at AfricanAmericanCulturalCtr@gmail.com, 323.299.6124 or visit http://www.africanamericanculturalcenter-la.org/education/nguzo-saba-conference/

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