PUERTO RICAN PRIDE 2016

 

It was my pleasure to attend the Puerto Rican Pride Parade in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on September 9th, 2016. The parade has been in tradition for 54 years and has brought together people from all walks of life while giving Puerto Ricans a chance to how off the great amount of pride they have. The parade was equipped with dancers, singers and instruments of Puerto Rican culture. Even the Nesquick bunny made an appearance. People were smiling, laughing and speaking in Spanish and English. The dancers who attended were dressed in flashy but beautiful clothing. A-line skirts and hot pants never looked better. A small performance was given in the heart of the parade which took place right next to Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

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I also had the chance to discuss with a group that celebrates queer Latinx people. They handed out goody bags containing 3 condoms, some information on their group in pamphlet form, and a small package of lube. The groups headcounters in northern New Jersey give free HIV testing which is still extremely important this day and age. People don’t pay much attention to queer groups on a realistic level these days. With celebrities and politicians treating the cause as if its a joke, its good to know that organizations are still working towards normalizing queer people.

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I was fortunate enough to have a chance to speak with some bystanders at the paraded. It felt important to see what the real Latinx people from the city had to say about the parade.

I first interviewed  a man named Jake who seemed to be enjoying himself at the parade. You could see his pride from far away with his flags and attire flaunting Puerto Rican colors. I asked him three questions.

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1.How long have you been coming to the parade?

 I remember coming here when I was very, very small and its my first year back I love it.

2.Are you from right here in Philly?
Actually I’m from Upper Darby.

3.What does the parade mean to you?

Bringing Boricuas from everywhere to one place in Philadelphia. It’s love and family like coming to a family reunion. So much love and culture here and you don’t get to see a lot. I love seeing a lot of Boricuas all in one place.

4. What are three words that come to mind when you think of the culture?

Love, family and respect.

I also had the pleasure of meeting a women named Reinia and asking her a few questions.

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1.How long have you been coming to the parade?

It’s been a while I used to come when I was younger.

2.Are you from the city?

No I live all the way in New Jersey.

3.What are three words that come to mind when you think of Puerto Rico and the culture?

Puerto Rican power! I love Puerto Rico! And I think of how I’m half Puerto Rican and half Dominican so I want to represent Puerto Rico and represent pride and just the people.

4.Is the parade really important to you?
It is important because we get together and help the community. It helps us represent ourselves and what we believe in.

The entire experience was unforgettable. The welcoming atmosphere that surrounds you when you enter the environment is something I believe you wont receive anywhere else. The music and food transports you right to Puerto Rico almost like a euphoria. I will be sure to attend the next festival when I can. And meet more lovely people along the way.

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By LaRae Tillery

 

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