Puerto Rican pride shone bright in Sunset Park, as residents came together to dance, party and remember the struggles of the island at the fifth annual Puerto Rican Day Parade and Festival.
Hosted by El Grito de Sunset Park on June 9, the parade included plenty of marchers, rides, Puerto Rican flags, cars, elected officials and more. This year, the parade honored an impressive 20 individuals as las Madrians and los Padrinos.
“This year, the committee decided that instead of having one Madrina and one Padrino, we want to honor our people and not wait for future years to give recognition to individuals that deserve to be celebrated today,” El Grito wrote on the community organization’s Facebook page.
“The history of Sunset Park is an immigrant community even before the Puerto Ricans were there,” co-organizer Adrián “Viajero” Román said. “There was a lineage of an Irish and Italian immigrant community, then the Puerto Rican community came, then Dominican and Mexican communities.”
Parade-goers were entertained by Los Pleneros de la 21, a band which plays traditional Puerto Rican music with a nod to the island’s African roots.
“It was very emotional because my mother passed away and this is something that she wanted me to do years ago,” said one of the parade’s Madrinas, Carmen Dingui. “I had the honor of having my granddaughter with me there. She marched with me and understood the importance. It was a great feeling.”