¡Presente! | Manhattan Times

By Roberto Ramírez

The parade will mark its sixth decade.

I am marching in the Puerto Rican Day Parade because I am proud to be Puerto Rican.

I am marching because my life, and that of my family in New York State, has been made possible by the many Puerto Ricans who came before me. Because Puerto Ricans arrived in this city, without much to their name, except a very rich culture, heritage, and a clear sense of who they were and an obsession with making life better for their families and for this city.

In my DNA has been engrained their struggle as they migrated to and persevered in a city, which most often was unwelcoming and unforgiving of their inability to speak English, and of their unwillingness to forego their culture, their language and their sense of self.

I am marching because on that glorious Sunday we will honor Puerto Ricans’ contributions – that of many Boricuas who have paid a price to establish our rightful place in this city.

I am marching because this parade, through its work, will award much-needed scholarships to a new generation of leaders, who should – and will – someday ask, “And what did you do in 2017 when some chose to turn their backs on the Parade?”

Read more: ¡Presente! | Manhattan Times

Related: The Parade Polemic | Manhattan Times

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