The West African Highlife Band performs at the downtown Oakland City Center to celebrate Kwanzaa.

The sounds of rhythmic drumbeats mixed with guitar, keyboard and bass notes, accompanied by the rustle and rattle of a beaded gourd filled downtown Oakland with the melody of African-inspired songs in recognition of Kwanzaa, a weeklong celebration of African-American heritage. The West African Highlife Band performed Wednesday afternoon in front of a tall Christmas…

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Oakland City Center Volunteer Fair

Hundreds of residents, workers, and commuters who visited the downtown fair during the busy work lunch hour. Community members representing a dozen East Bay Area nonprofit organizations had set up informational tables in the center’s walkway area to encourage residents to volunteer and make donations. Participating groups included the Alameda County Community Food Bank, Girls Incorporated of Alameda County, Habitat For Humanity of the East Bay, and Reading Partners, a national organization that uses volunteers to tutor children.

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