In one of New York City’s largest annual parades, thousands of spectators took to the streets to celebrate National Puerto Rican Day on Sunday in Manhattan on Fifth Avenue.
This year’s 61st annual celebration was unlike any other with spectators looking to celebrate their heritage and spotlight Puerto Rico’s hardships and lagging support the island has received following the devasting effects of Hurricane Maria.
“This is a very important parade and a very meaningful parade given the tragedy and the devastation of the homeland,” Louis Maldonado said on Friday prior to Sunday’s big parade.
Maldonado is the National Puerto Rican Day Parade (NPRDP) Board Chair whose thoughts are shared with many Puerto Rico supporters.
In an aim to highlight those sentiments, this year’s NYC Puerto Rican Parade’s theme is “One People, Many Voices.”
The board and its supporters wanted to show their appreciation of both the Puerto Rican culture and the men and women who are currently working to rebuild the island following Hurricane Maria.
While many in the Puerto Rican community are sour with the lagging support of the island from President Trump and his administration, the NYC celebration went on and was as memorable as ever with supporters donning white, blue and red as they waved flags enthusiastically at those marching in the parade.
Others dressed in black, mourning the people who died during Hurricane Maria as well as to protest the lack of support Puerto Rico received.
"The attention given to the island was minuscule, very low; it was very slow, it was disgraceful what the president did,'' Ramon Rodriquez of Newark told NorthJersey.com.
"The parade will be the same with the number of people it gets every year, but in the back of minds, a lot of them are going to be remembering all the lives lost. I'm sure the floats and some of those marching will have the T-shirts too."