Alexandria, VA – Alexandria’s second annual Africa FEST was a great success! Patrick Henry Recreation Center was packed with city residents and visitors who got into the spirit of things with dancing, painting, eating and buying.
“So much of our population traces their heritage to the African continent, in some cases very recently and other cases generations ago,” said Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson at the event.
The free event, which was held on Saturday, Sept. 7, was sponsored by the African Union Mission to the U.S., the Alexandria Black History Museum, the city’s Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities, Marta Ali Studios, the National Museum of African Art at the Smithsonian, and the Pan African Diaspora Women’s Association.
Alexandria City Councilman Mo Seifeldein is a native of Sudan, and said that it was important that the event was held at Patrick Henry, which is in the city’s West End and is an area that is home to some of the city’s poorer residents.
“I think that the city is living up to its commitment for inclusivity,” Seifeldein said. “Events like this make me feel personally included, and I think that they are only going to get better.”
There were also a number of embassies that promoted the event and participated, including the Embassy of the Central African Republic, the Embassy of Cote d’lvoire, the Embassy of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Embassy of the Republic of Gambia.
Alexandria City Councilman John Chapman marched as the flags of the 55 participating countries in the African Union were paraded around the recreation center gymnasium.
“This is my second time coming to this event, and I love it,” Chapman said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for the city to recognize and celebrate the African Diaspora, especially the community members who come from it directly or are descended from it.”