Published : Tuesday, October 10, 2017 | 11:08 AM
Pasadena’s Latino community is celebrating National Hispanic Heritage month. The celebration will end with a Latino parade on the last day, Saturday, October 14, followed by a jamaica Festival with live entertainment, great food, cultural arts, community resources, education opportunities and a lot more.
The parade takes off from Washington Blvd. at about 11 a.m. and should be at the Villa Parke Community Center by 12 noon for the jamaica Festival.
This year’s theme is “Embracing our Latino Military Service Men and Women”, and will honor veterans from throughout the Pasadena area and surrounding cities.
Robert Monzon, Chairman of the Latino Heritage Parade and jamaica Festival Committee, said he expects many of the veterans, as well as active-duty soldiers, to be participating in the parade as well.
“We have a large flag that has to be walked by 20 people that’s going to be in the parade,” Monzon said. “We have two color guard details; we’re going to have military vehicles, so I think we’re expecting a humvee and maybe a jeep or two. We’re going to have about 14 classic cars this year and then we’re also trying to get some troops to march in the parade as well.”
The City of Pasadena-sponsored event is estimated to have an attendance of over 2,500.
Monzon also spoke about how the Latino Heritage Parade started in Pasadena.
“The Latino Heritage organization and Roberta Martinez were the ones that started the parade 19 years ago,” Monzon said. “I used to do the Cinco de Mayo (Fifth of May) event in front of City Hall and we had a small parade that went from Villa Parke to the City Hall venue. The idea was to get the soccer kids out and get some of the elected officials in a car and march over to city hall to start the event. Roberta Martinez had the vision of making it a larger more community parade and I said, ‘Sure, go ahead,’ and she did that from that point forward.”
This year’s parade Grand Marshal is Command Master Sgt. Ramon Rodriguez, a decorated Vietnam Veteran who served his country for 23 years. Rodriguez is a nominee for the Congressional Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest honor.
Rodriguez was nominated for the honor in 1982 after earning three Silver Stars, three Bronze Stars and five Purple Hearts during the 32 months of service in Vietnam.
The Community Grand Marshall is the Community Grand Marshal, Staff Sergeant Hector Rodriguez who served honorably in the U.S. Army. Enlisting in 1992, Rodriguez served in Kosovo and was deployed twice to Afghanistan in a variety of leadership roles. In 2007, Rodriquez ended his military service at the rank of Staff Sergeant after serving a total of 13 years.
Monzon said the Latino community is getting all the help it needs from sponsors and community organizations, aside from the City departments.
“The school district has been very helpful,” he said. “The city of course has been phenomenal, as well as our police department’s support which would have been very expensive for the community. We have the fire department supporting us, the health department supporting us, parks and recreation, of course, their staff is helping with coordination so they’ve just been phenomenal.”
“Andy Tien, of Pasadena Service Federal Credit Union and a member of the committee, has been very helpful helping us market the event and connecting us with other supporters and people in the community. He did a shout out for us on his appearance on LatinoMex radio station so Pasadena Service Federal Credit Union has been a valued community partner.”
Members of the community are encouraged to register to participate in the Latino Heritage Parade, have a booth at the Festival, enter a Pasadena Unified School District-sponsored art contest or volunteer in any way they can.
For more information, contact the Villa Parke Community Center at (626) 744-6530 or visit the City of Pasadena webpage about the Latino Heritage Parade, www.cityofpasadena.net/humanservices/community-event/latino-heritage-parade-jamaica-festival.
You can visit PSFCU at 670 North Rosemead Boulevard, call (877) 297-4707 or visit their website http://www.mypsfcu.org/about/who.php. You can also stay in touch with them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mypsfcu and Twitter: @PasadenaServFCU