A Kwanzaa celebration at Malcolm X College scheduled for Wednesday has been canceled amid a surge of COVID-19 cases driven by the Omicron variant.
The decision to cancel was made “out of an abundance of caution,” City Colleges spokeswoman Veronica Resa said in a statement Monday morning.
Cases of coronavirus in the city are up 85% over the previous week, according to the most recent data available from the Chicago Department of Public Health. That’s over 3,700 new cases daily on average with a positivity rate of 15.4%.
The celebration of Kwanzaa that had been set to kick off Wednesday would’ve featured a procession and drum call, live performances and shopping. The free event would have included performances by Najwa Dance Corps, Dee Alexander and the A Team, Armen Rah, Ugochi and the Muntu Dance Theatre.
Kwanzaa is held annually from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1 to celebrate African American culture. The holiday was created in 1966. Each of the seven days of Kwanzaa is dedicated to a separate principle: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.
Kwanzaa will carry on virtually at the DuSable Museum of African American History as it hosts “Seven days of the Seven Principles.” The event started Sunday and will be streamed each day from 5 to 6 p.m. on the museum’s Facebook page.
The cancellation of the Malcolm X event comes as the Omicron variant of the coronavirus has rapidly spread throughout the country. Omicron is more contagious than the previously dominant Delta variant, and the arrival of Omicron has forced officials to act, imposing new restrictions and regulations in an attempt to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Also citing the surge in COVID-19 cases in the state, Rush University Medical Center and NorthShore University HealthSystem have temporarily barred visitors in most in-patient and out-patient areas.