CRENSHAW ( — A parade along Crenshaw Boulevard Thursday marked the first day of Kwanzaa.

The week-long, non-religious holiday was first observed in 1966 by Maulana Karenga, now chair of Cal State Long Beach’s Department of Africana Studies, in what he called “an audacious act of self-determination.”

The holiday celebrates African-American cultures and traditions for seven days, calling on observers to focus on unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.

The 37th annual Kwanzaa Gwaride Parade and Festival in Leimert Park started at 11 a.m., according to R.W. Akile of KwanZaa People of Color, which organizes the event.

Kwanzaa ends on Jan. 1.

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