While earlier this year some feared the event would not take place, the fifth annual Hispanic Day Parade kicked off on the morning of Sept. 14, filling Broadway with song and dance.
The event, organized by the Bayonne Hispanic Association, has taken its place among the litany of parades.
Abett Hernandez, president and founder of the association, said she was very pleased with the response, thanking employees of the Department of Public Works, members of the Bayonne High School Marching Band, and students, teachers and parents from the various schools that helped make the parade a success this year.
“We would like to say thank you to all the groups marching in the parade,” she said, and gave a special thanks to Mayor Terrence Malloy “for all the time we spent together with all the groups after the parade.”
While other parades, such as the Memorial Day, Columbus Day and St. Patrick’s Day parades, have been annual traditions for decades, the Latino Day Parade started in 2004 to help acknowledge the growing number of Latinos in Bayonne and throughout the county and state. Organizers wanted to help celebrate the diversity of the city by showing another aspect of the amazing amount of ethic culture alive and well here.
“This is a very multi-cultural community,” said Daniel Valentine, earlier this year. Latinos of various national backgrounds make up about 18 percent of Bayonne’s overall population, with slightly over 11,000 of the city’s 62,000 people claiming a Latino-based origin in the 2000 census. This percentage is about half the overall average in Hudson County, where Latinos make up almost 40 percent of the population.
But Valentine said the percentage of people of Latino culture is growing in Bayonne, and that the parade would acknowledge and celebrate yet one more culture in a city known for its diversity. Many of the new businesses opening up in the city are owned by Latinos, as are many of the people shopping in the local stores.