Celebrating Boricua Pride with Focus on María Recovery Efforts

The one-star flag flew proudly at the parade, which marched along Fifth Avenue. (Photo by Ramón Vera via El Diario)

On Sunday, New York City was enveloped in the Puerto Rican flag to celebrate the National Puerto Rican Day Parade, its red, white and blue colors blooming on Fifth Avenue since 11 a.m.

Still hung over from the 116th Street Festival, the parade gathered hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who showed their pride for their homeland more than ever before. Under the slogan “One People, Many Voices,” this year’s parade paid special tribute to the town of Morovis and to all the people who contributed to the recovery, rebuilding and renovation of the island after Hurricane María.

“We make New York. Today is a special day and that is why we need to come together even more,” said Lydia Pacheco, 62 (…)

Several political leaders showed their support at the Boricua parade, including Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza. In addition, moments after the event started, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo slammed the federal government for its weak response to the disaster, which he said has to do with an inherent racism coming from the White House.

“It’s a symptom of a federal government that believes in a sense of division… that people of different skin color and different languages are an offense to this nation,” said Cuomo.

People in attendance also took the occasion to show their opposition to the Trump administration. Puerto Rican-born Alberto Cruz, 60, said: “This year is very important because of the hurricane and because the federal government has treated us as if we were not citizens.”

The parade not only expresses Puerto Rican pride but Latino pride in general. Edica Parrilla is a 65-year-old Ecuadorean who attends the event every year. “We are all Latino and we need to be united. Puerto Rico must stand up again,” she said.

Countless Puerto Rican T-shirts and flags could be seen at the parade and there were also chants and numerous messages of support for Puerto Rico and for the people affected by the hurricane. Groups including the one led by Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr. marched wearing black T-shirts that read “4,645,” the number of hurricane-related deaths calculated by a Harvard University study, a figure that contradicts the official count of 64 fatalities. Before the parade, Díaz Jr. expressed his support for Public Advocate Letitia James for the position of attorney general of New York.

The 61st edition of the parade was led by actor Esaí Morales, grand marshal for the event, and TV host, model and former Miss Universe Zuleyka Rivera, who was chosen as the parade queen. Also, Puerto Rican performers Ámbar and Los Hermanos Moreno (the Moreno Brothers) were part of El Diario’s float.

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