When: Sat., Aug. 16, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. 2014
Umoja is Swahili for “unity,” as well as the name of a cultural celebration that aims to bring together the various communities of African diaspora that exist in the Bay Area. Last year was the inaugural organization of the gathering — which is the first pan-African event of its kind in the area — and the second annual festival will take place this weekend at Lowell Park (1180 14th St., Oakland). One of Umoja’s many thoughtful goals is to provide a well-rounded representation of African culture. That means the event will feature live music from a diverse lineup of African performers (such as Lagos Roots, FreshIsLife, and Piwai), an array of vendors from the community, an eclectic platter of African foods, and (most importantly, for many) a soccer tournament between leagues from all over the Bay Area. The festival also aims to welcome and serve members of the general West Oakland community in which the event takes place. This year, Umoja will further its advocacy for food justice and physical wellness by offering more space for local organizations to share information on topics such as local food sources and holistic medical treatment. It’s sure to be a spirited event, with a spectacular musical culmination.