Kwanzaa 2022 ‘was the best one yet’

After a pandemic hiatus, the Oak Park Community Kwanzaa Celebration was back in person at the Main Library in December, with a full house.

“This year’s Kwanzaa celebration was the best one yet!” said Multicultural Learning Coordinator Juanta Griffin. Griffin organizes the annual intergenerational event, last held in person at the library in 2019.

Educator and author Glinette Tilly Turner (right), age 89, honored us with her presence. “Of all the Kwanzaa ceremonies in the area she chose ours!” said Juanta Griffin, Multicultural Learning Coordinator (center).

Among the more than 100 people who attended, we were honored to welcome activist, historian, educator, and author Glinette Tilly Turner, age 89, who has written multiple books on the Underground Railroad in Illinois and DuPage County.

“She is like royalty!” Griffin said.

In fact, rap artist Ajani Griffin, who was scheduled to perform, declined the mic so that Turner could speak.

“We heavily model respect for the ancestors and elders during Kwanzaa,” Griffin said. “So much so that before we go on with the program, the very first thing we do is ask the elders in the room for permission to proceed. We do things with decency and in order at all times.”

Kwanzaa Celebration audience

‘We had some heavy hitters in the house’

December’s celebration was the sixth annual and very well attended.

We enjoyed music by The Snake Doctors and dance performances by Move Me Soul Dance and Kuumba Kids.

Tara Stamps served as Mistress of Ceremonies, and Adekunle Onayemi, District Governor of the Rotary Club, performed the libation ceremony. Mzee Kalfani Nubian Malik shared the meaning of Kwanzaa.

Anthony Clark, Suburban Unity Alliance, spoke about the Oak Park Community Fridge. Christian Harris, Oak Park Reparations, was the keynote speaker.

“We had some heavy hitters in the house!” Griffin said.

Thank you to our supporters and sponsors

It takes a village to pull off such a celebration. We heartily thank our sponsors and supporters, including the Friends of the Oak Park Public Library, Suburban Unity Alliance, and community volunteers.

Watch: Videos to learn more about Kwanzaa