CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The City of Chicopee made history today with its first annual celebration of Kwanzaa at City Hall.

Unity and education were on display downtown Thursday, as the Springfield Kwanzaa Collective continued to spread the message of the festival.

The seven-day celebration is a time for families and communities to remember the past and to celebrate African American Culture. The Chicopee Community came together to do just that Thursday, with music, dancing and spoken word. Their location on the corner of Front and Springfield Streets – a meaningful place to celebrate.

“It means that people recognize the cultural differences that we all have but also the cultural differences that each community brings to a city or town,” Ayanna Crawford, Vice Chair of the Springfield Kwanzaa Collective.

Following the ceremony, the Pan African Flag was raised. Black representing the people of the African diaspora. Red their struggle, and green, the future. The festival is rooted in seven principals, one for each day of the festival.

Thursday’s is Cooperative Economics, or Ujamaa, a Swahili word literally meaning “Extended Family” The principal defined by building and maintaining black stores, shops and other business and to profit from them as a community.