Mayor Josían Santiago of Comerío along with Major Rahm Emanuel of Chicago headed the amazing and impressive list of dignitaries who this year led the largest Puerto Rican People’s Parade in its 40 years of history. This list includes among others; Sen. Omar Aquino, Cook County Clerk Dorothy Brown, Alderman Roberto Maldonado, Alderman Joe “Proco” Moreno, Alderman Milly Santiago, Alderman Ariel Reboyras, Jesús “Chuy” García, Delia Ramírez as well as two honor special guest, Alderman Angel Arroyo from Lorain OH and Alderman Nelson Román from Holyoke, MA. As these dignitaries led the parade and as it made its way through Paseo Boricua, thousands upon thousands cheered, danced, sang and transformed the experience into a totally engaging community celebration.
Two of the most salient aspect of the Parade was one the large number of original founders who participated, most significantly the presence of many of the ex political prisoners including; Oscar López Rivera, Carmen Valentín, Lucy Rodriguez, Alberto Rodríguez, José Luis Rodriguez, Luis Rosa, Norberto González, Edwin Cortes, Ricardo Jiménez, Jaime Delgado and Alejandrina Torres; and secondly the very visible presence of the Puerto Rican LGBTQ community who were royally represented on the Vida/SIDA float with the newest International Cacica Queen Alexandra Duvont, Cacica Queen 2018 Gia Calhoun, Honorary Cacica Doris Rodríguez and our very first Cacique King, Orlando “El Fenómeno” Cruz.
The Puerto Rican Cultural Center and Alderman Roberto Maldonado want to thank all the co-sponsor who made this year the Puerto Rican People’s Parade such an historic success with over 100 floats and groups participating as well as tens of thousands of spectators. This year’s parade would not have been possible without the support of the following sponsors and benefactors: Hispanic Housing, Armitage Produce, Puerto Rican Agenda, COMED, ASPIRA Illinois, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Pedro Albizu Campos HS, Roberto Clemente Community Academy, West Town Bikes/Ciclo Urbano, National Boricua Human Rights and Campus along with Association House HS, Moos and José De Diego. Also a special thank to all of our programs; Vida/SIDA, Trans Chicago, Centro Infantil, Humboldt Park Youth Employment Program, Mayor Youth Mentoring Program, Integrated PASEO, Mujeres For Paseo Raise Your Voice Program and a very special thank you to Leony Calderon coordinator of the Puerto Rican People’s Parade.