After Saturday’s 4th of July celebrations, Rhode Island’s Cape Verdean community celebrated its independence. Thousands of people gathered in India Point Park to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Cape Verdean Independence.
The festival took over India Point Park in Providence with music, food, vendors, and politicians.
1st District Congressman David Cicilline, Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza and US Senator Jack Reed all took the stage during the day to wish the crowd Happy Independence Day.
Rhode Island is home to about 20,000 Cape Verdeans, more than any other state besides Massachusetts.
Festival founder Romana Ramos has seen the festival grow. Just Sixty people came to the first festival in 1977. At the time, few Rhode Islanders knew about the Cape Verdean struggle for independence.
Ramos said she found a connection to her homeland at India Point Park.
"I looked around with the ocean and the coast remind me of my islands,” said Ramos. “I start crying, I say it would be so nice if some day we could celebrate the independence of Cape Verde right here in the park."
Ramos said after the first festival in East Providence, the celebration moved to India Point Park and has been there ever since.