Capital City Kwanzaa Festival canceled because of COVID-19
12/30/2021, 6 p.m.
The Richmond area’s largest Kwanzaa festival will not take place as planned on Thursday, Dec. 30.
The 32nd edition of the Capital City Kwanzaa Festival was canceled Tuesday amid the latest surge of COVID-19 cases.
“The decision is based on concerns about the increased rates of COVID-19 transmission here in Richmond and in surrounding locales and the safety of all involved during this ongoing public health crisis,” according to Janine Y. Bell, founder and artistic director of the Elegba Folklore Society that hosts the festival.
Ms. Bell stated that the cancellation is based on the third principle of Kwanzaa, Ujima, or collective work and responsibility, which calls for “maintaining and building our community together and making our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems to solve together.”
Dr. Maulana Karenga, 80, the creator of the seven-day Afrocentric holiday in 1966, had been scheduled to speak during the event. Instead, he sent a statement, “We wish for you all things good, pure and beautiful.”
“It is with profound disappointment that we have come to this difficult place,” Ms. Bell stated in calling off the festival for the first time since she launched it in 1990. Last year’s festival was held virtually, but the decision came too late this year to shift to a virtual festival.
“All who invested will receive a full refund,” Ms. Bell said.