Kwanzaa celebrations have added significance for protest organizers who see the marches and discussions in recent weeks as prompting people to seek connections and solutions.

“Building cultural connectivity is what we are missioned to do,” said Janine Bell of Richmond Virginia.  Bell is the president and artistic director of Elegba Folklore Society, which will present the Capital City Kwanzaa Festival.

“We feel if there were stronger connections with regards to cultural affinity, African-Americans would know more and be confident more about the power we hold in our hands…,” said Bell.

Kwanzaa is an African-American cultural holiday created in 1966 by college educator Maulana Karenga to celebrate African-American family, heritage, community and culture. The celebration extends over seven days, with a different principle highlighted each day. The celebratory colors are black, red and green, and traditional items used in celebrations include African baskets, patterned cloths, art objects and harvest symbols.

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