Spring Valley Library holds its annual Karamu festival

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“This is the annual Karamu Festival in celebration of Black History Month,” said Charlotte King-Mills, Branch Manager County of San Diego’s Spring Valley Library Branch.  The Karamu Festival was held on Feb. 25. 

The Karamu Festival’s schedule included the La Presa Jazz Band, the Martin Luther King Jr. Choir, henna by Natasha, crafts by Sabrina and Laura Mendez, face painting by Gigi and staff, Black Storytellers Association of San Diego, and ended with a raffle drawing.

“This is the annual Karamu Festival in celebration of Black History Month,” said Charlotte King-Mills, Branch Manager County of San Diego’s Spring Valley Library Branch.  The Karamu Festival was held on Feb. 25. 

The Karamu Festival’s schedule included the La Presa Jazz Band, the Martin Luther King Jr. Choir, henna by Natasha, crafts by Sabrina and Laura Mendez, face painting by Gigi and staff, Black Storytellers Association of San Diego, and ended with a raffle drawing.

“We are promoting wellness in the community today. We are offering mood screenings, healthy southern cookbooks, and water bottles” said Kellyanne Rodriguez, with the County of San Diego’s Health & Human Services Department. Rodriguez was also promoting the 5-2-1-0 program to promote healthy eating.

King-Mills said, “This year we added the college corner.”

Recruitment Assistant for the EOP Program Kevieon Brown from San Diego State University was in this college corner section. “I am answering general information questions and how the Early Educational Programs can be beneficial to the community.  We offer free counseling, tutoring for those on academic probation, and a $500 grant per semester.” Platt College and the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Colleges were also represented.

“This is my first Karamu.  It’s pretty cool,” said Chula Vista resident Isaac Ramirez, 11. “I went to all the tables.”

One of the tables was staffed by Nijah Crenshaw with The San Diego LGBT Community Center who was not only handing out cards referencing #BETHEGENERATION that highlighted free HIV testing but also answering questions about referrals.

“I’m looking forward to the gumbo,” said Spring Valley resident Fatima Varela, 6.  Free gumbo was offered to all. 

King-Mills estimated the turnout at over 200. The Karamu Feast typically held on December 31 was a part of the Kwanzaa celebration  It was proposed as a communitywide promotional and educational campaign in 1971. The Karamu Festival is an offshoot of that campaign.

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