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Música y política se unen en esta 42 edición del Desfile del Pueblo Puertorriqueño, que llega unos meses antes del referendum de la isla. Photo: Univision / EFE
Music and politics come together in the 42nd edition of the Puerto Rican People's Parade, which arrives a few months before the island's referendum. Photo: Univision / EFE

Chicago's Puerto Ricans Celebrate Their Big Day With a Virtual Parade

The "Parada" rolls out on June 20 despite the COVID pandemic, and has a lot to celebrate.

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In Humboldt Park, the Puerto Rican heart of Chicago, the security measures imposed by the pandemic are taken very seriously. But this will not prevent them from celebrating their traditional Puerto Rican People's Parade, which will celebrate its 42nd anniversary on June 20. 

This year, the popularly known "Parada," organized by the Puerto Rican Cultural Center (PRCC) and HITN TV, will be able to be followed virtually, but with the same joy and pride in the culture and roots as always because there is so much to celebrate:

The parade is dedicated to several emblematic anniversaries: the 25th anniversary of the Puerto Rican flag, the 20th anniversary of the National Museum of Puerto Rican Art and Culture, the 20th anniversary of the Humboldt Park Vocational Education Center, the 20th anniversary of the Humboldt Park Public Library in Troy, the 15th anniversary of the Urban Theater Company and the 15th anniversary of Muévete. 

It's one way, according to PRCC Executive Director Jose E. Lopez, to honor the "rich legacy of our cultural roots through music and our art" and promote "the creation of our collective aesthetic" in difficult times, not only because of the COVID-19 epidemic, but also in protest for social and racial justice. 

In a statement, HITN announced that the festival, which will be broadcast live on the Hispanic Network's website and PRCC's website between 2 and 3 pm CST on Saturday, will call on the entire Chicago Hispanic community to participate in the 2020 Census.

"Not only to boost the visibility of Latinos, but the importance of being counted on to be part of the changes that affect their communities nationally," organizers said. 

A political and festive event

The parade will feature appearances by artists and groups that honor Puerto Rican culture, such as AfriCaribe, Ivelisse "Bombera de Corazón" Díaz, Centro Cultural Segundo Ruiz Belvis, UrbanTheater Company, Miss Universe Latina Plus 2019, Valeria Méndez, and the Miss Gay Puerto Rico Organization.

But it will also have a deep political significance, especially considering that next fall the island will decide whether it wants to join the United States as a state. 

Omar Aquino (D-Chicago), State Rep. Delia C. Ramirez (D-Chicago), Jessie Fuentes, Co-President of the Puerto Rican Agenda, Dr. Jesus Hernandez Burgos, Director of Public Health Initiatives of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center, Roberto Maldonado, City Councilor for the 26th District of the City of Chicago, and Billy Ocasio, Executive Director of the National Museum of Puerto Rican Art and Culture.

Get ready for this Saturday: the "virtual" meeting point will be the Roberto Community Academy in Chicago and the parade will end, of course, at the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture.

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