Puerto Rican Day Parade displays pride

13 June, 2018, 07:46 | Author: Wade Massey
  • A man rides his bicycle past refrigerated shipping containers being used to hold unclaimed bodies in Puerto Rico because the morgue has run out of room

Amid all the fun and celebration planned for this year s parade on Sunday, organizers and participants want people to remember that months after Hurricane Maria roared through and with next hurricane season arriving, Puerto Rico is still struggling.

The National Puerto Rican Day Parade filled Fifth Avenue yesterday with hundreds of thousands of marchers and spectators and, absent any controversy over the Grand Marshal selection this year (it was actor-activist Esai Morales), the atmosphere along the almost three-mile route was loud and festive once again, thanks in no small part to the return of the big sponsored floats cranking music and throwing out freebies.

"This year's Parade has particularly profound meaning as we continue to celebrate the best of who we are as a community while also providing a platform to continue to discuss the ongoing recovery, rebuilding, and renewal efforts in Puerto Rico", said Louis Maldonado, NPRDP Board Chair, ahead fo the parade.

Saying that "the Island is still reeling from the storm and is expected to for several years", Senator Nellie Pou (D-Paterson) who has been active in several efforts to provide relief, and traveled to the island in February, encouraged evacuees to attend the session to acquaint themselves with resources "available to them here in New Jersey, whether they intend to make New Jersey their new permanent home, or return to Puerto Rico". Ortiz, 53, of Brooklyn, and other parade-goers voiced frustration over what they said was an under-reporting of the death toll in Puerto Rico and a tepid emergency response by the administration of President Donald Trump.

The Puerto Rican government estimated the death toll from the storm is 64, however, a recent study from The New England Journal of Medicine said the actual death toll is 70 times more than the government's official count.

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"We're here to call an end to policies of austerity that are literally killing people". Along the parade route, people carried signs with tributes like "New York Stands with Puerto Rico", "You will not be forgotten" and "Decolonize Puerto Rico".

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and U.S. Sen.

Some demonstrators chanted "Respect Puerto Rico" as the parade passed Trump Tower.

This year's parade comes a year after a controversial one, when the parade organization made a decision to recognize Oscar Lopez Rivera, a former member of a militant group responsible for a series of bombings.

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