Puerto Rican Day Parade NYC 2018

Sunday June 10, 2018. The 20th Annual National Puerto Rican Day Parade took place on 5th Avenue in New York City. This is the time when N.O.R.E's lyrics "No matter your race because you know you're Latino," ring true.  Every year for as long as I have been alive, this has been the place to be. You put on your red, white and blue, bring your lawn chairs, hats and umbrellas and you "Respect the Island." All of the island, its inhabitants, and its offsprings. No matter if you are 0% Puerto Rican, 5% or 100%, this is the day that you are welcomed into the culture to embrace the shades, genders, music, flavas, hair, etc. that make up Puerto Rico. 

For those who missed the parade here is a quick synopsis: Marc Anthony's rendition of the legendary Hector Lavoe's "Aguanile" is blasted from every other float while the song of the summer, a mix of Cardi B & J Balvin's  "I Like It," Daddy Yankee's "Dura" and Ozuna's "Dile Que Tu Me Quieres" play from the floats of  New York's biggest Latin Radio Stations.  Questions arise from the crowd; "Are the Mother & Father of the Nuyoricans community here?" "Where are Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony?" There's a group of teenage girls looking for Aventura or Daddy Yankee to make a surprise entrance. Not this year guys, but there is always next time. Oohs and ahhhs come from everyone who is amazed by the beauty of Dominican American Actress Dascha Polanco & The Real's Adrienne Bailon. "Crazy Legs" of Rock Steady Crew, the most iconic breakdancer and a forefather of hiphop, reminds the crowd that Puerto Ricans will always be apart of Hip Hop. Do your google searches if you don't know. Countless dance teams and sororities fill the streets reminding us that the Puerto Rican flavor is multicultural and inclusive. Public service workers from New York and New Jersey stand proud in their uniforms hand in hand as they give out pamphlets, stickers, and hats to get the community involved in current issues. Tricked out Jeeps and trucks a like ride through vibrant colors while host from Telemundo & Univision wave to the crowd. All the girls are looking for a guy with the nicest braid pattern.The guys do like wise. 

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This years parade was more than just music and giveaways. It was about representation and heritage.  The conversation was open and unlike previous years there was no questioning of "How Puerto Rican are you?" or comments like, "You aren't Puerto Rican because you don't speak Spanish." Everyone came together to raise awareness about the growing problems on the island because of Hurricane Maria. The relief from Hurricane Maria isn't over and we need to continue to help our fellow human beings. Also the parade is more inclusive than ever. Puerto Rico isn't just San Juan and Ponce, it is also Loíza, Arroyo and Maunabo. Vejigante mask and costumes were prevalent and respect to the Taíno people and slaves that came before us all were everywhere. Brown skin of all shades and hair of all textures was represented. Curls, dreads, braids, everything. Afro-Puerto Rican culture is appreciated not hidden. There was no Boricuas vs. Nuyoricans. We are all as one. 

"Yo Soy Boricua, Pa'que tu lo sepas!"

- Taino 

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How you can contribute to the Hurricane María relief in Puerto Rico. 

  1. Donate  through Google to to the Hispanic Federation or Mercy Corps. 100% of the proceeds go directly to help the Island.
  2. Help teachers and students through organizations like  First Book
  3. Volunteer or fundraise with organizations like  Project Hope
  4. Keep the conversation going and stay informed. Tweet. Instagram. Facebook.  

There are thousands without power or supplies. Families are displaced and lives lost are still unaccounted for.

Stay informed and help each other.  

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- With Love @AshaMone