Arts & Entertainment

Crowds Come Out to XRootsFest in South Orange

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L to R: South Orange Village Trustees Jeff DuBowey, Deborah Davis Ford, and Walter Clarke, with South Orange Village President Sheena Collum.
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Felisha George of Movement with Purpose and Chris Dickson of Rent Party.
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Not in Our Two Towns Pledge
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Jeff DuBowey, Walter Clarke, Deborah Davis Ford, Sheena Collum and Audrey Row, Program Director for the Community Coalition on Race.
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Ray and Kay 
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Ecuadorian Dance Troupe
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Sheena Collum, South Orange Village President, and Leila Gonzalez Sullivan, Chair, South Orange Maplewood Community Coalition on Race.
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Audrey Row, Program Director; Nancy Gagnier, Executive Director; Leila Gonzalez Sullivan, Chair, South Orange Maplewood Community Coalition on Race.
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L to R: Bruno Mairto, Kevin Alexander, Lt. Albert Sally and Dashawn Lawson 
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Victor DeLuca, Mayor of Maplewood.
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SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - Hundreds attended XRoots Fest on Floods Hills on Sat., July 16. A program of the South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race, this is the third time this free, multicultural heritage festival was held. For the past two years, it was known as the Cultural Heritage Festival, and was held in Maplewood.

An all-day festival, XRootsFest featured a variety of performances throughout the day, as well as international food and craft vendors. For kids, there was a large slide and bounce house.

Performers included the African Dance Company Usaama, the Chinese American Music Ensemble, and the Irish and Celtic Folk band Driscoll and Smith.

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According to Leila Gonzalez Sullivan, Chair of the South Orange/Maplewood Coalition on Race, XRoots Fest is the perfect example of "what the Coalition is all about." Coalition Program Director Audrey Row shared, "it's exciting to host this event every year and know that it’s attended people of totally diverse backgrounds and ethnicity."

This year, the event provided information about the Not In Our Town Towns movement, including a pledge that participants could read and then sign a banner showing their support for #NotInOurTwoTowns.

Felisha George, one of the organizers of the recent vigil and leader of the discussion at the South Orange Middle School last week, was at the festival, and along with Emanuel Grant, Cory Hardy, Sidney Scruggs, and Alfonso Spottswood, presented at XRootsFest a performance they had shown at South Orange Middle School which represented the killing of five black citizens, Trayvon Martin, Philandro Castile, Alton Sterling, Eric Garner, and Sandra Bland.

Maplewod Mayor Victor DeLuca stated, "this is a wonderful event and displays the type of community our two towns are."

South Orange Village President Sheena Collum spoke about the Not In Our Two Towns movement, the Community Coalition on Race, and also shared that the annual National Night Out would be held on Tues., Aug. 2, also on Floods Hill. 

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