The Museum Building at the Grounds For Sculpture was draped in stunning African fabrics as it welcomed guests to the Outdoor Equity Alliance Kwanzaa Celebration. Patterned cloth, with accents of Kente, brightly colored geometrics and ancient patterning were hung and draped throughout the event space. Over one hundred friends, patrons, supporters and guests came out to celebrate Kwanzaa and to support the Outdoor Equity Alliance in its first fundraiser. After our guests signed in, they were encouraged to meet and mingle with people they didn’t know, as well as view potter Roberto Lugo’s artwork exhibit, called “The Village Potter”, which was housed in the space.
The Conservancy of Music Community Choir kicked off our festivities with a soul-stirring acapella rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing”, presented inside Roberto Lugo’s 20ft piece that stood in the middle of the room. OEA Vice-Chair Alex Rivera welcomed the crowd and shared the vision and mission of the organization. Executive Chef Jules of “Rat’s Restaurant” was introduced and shared how he was thrilled to be presenting a menu that reflected various culinary traditions of the African diaspora and the joy he had in preparing food that had deep personal meaning for him. Before guests dined on chicken and sausage gumbo, hush puppies, plantains, and collard greens among other things, FoHVOS Executive Director Lisa Wolff shared the inception story of the OEA.
As the festivities went on, we were again treated to three more songs from the choir. Next, there was a video presentation by former OEA/FoHVOS Program Manager Sebastian Vargas, highlighting the 2022 OEA internship programs and other OEA activities. As we prepared to light the Kwanzaa Kinara, the many farmers, foresters, preservationists, conservationists, environmentalists, and environmental educators were presented to those gathered and acknowledged for their ongoing commitments to both their communities and to nature.