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City Clarifies Cancellation of Black History Parade

Published on Thursday, January 13, 2022 | 10:56 am

Young dancers performing in the 2020 Black History Parade. [Photo by James Macpherson/Pasadena Now]
A city spokesperson clarified the cancellation of the Black History Parade when contacted by Pasadena Now on Thursday morning after readers began complaining that the city allowed the Rose Parade to continue despite the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

The city’s Black History Parade is one of the largest and longest-running Black history celebrations in the state.

The Omicron variant has led to record infections across the country. On Wednesday, LA County reported 39 deaths, the most since September, and 40,452 new infections.

Local residents quickly pointed out that the Rose Parade was held even as the numbers of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations were increasing.

Prior to the Rose Parade, holiday events and bowl games were canceled across the country as the nation began battling a new wave of the virus. Some residents at the time questioned why the parade and game were taking place.

The Rose Parade was canceled in 2021 for the first time since World War II because of COVID-19. The Rose Bowl was moved to Arlington, Texas, which frayed the relationship between the Tournament and the city.

This year both the Parade and game went ahead. Crowds were sparser, but tens of thousands of paradegoers turned out.

“You had [people] sitting in each other’s lap during the Rose Parade. Make [this cancellation] make sense cause it’s sounding discriminatory,” said Kris Janelle on social media.

On Thursday, Pasadena spokesperson Lisa Derderian pointed out that controlled procedures were put in place for the Rose Parade to keep people safe that cannot be executed for the Black History Parade.

“The Tournament of Roses had strict health protocols in place,” said Public Information Officer Lisa Derderian. “Of the 6,500+ participants in this year’s parade, 91% were vaccinated and the other 9% were required to provide proof of a negative test within 72 hours of the event. Additionally, patrons in the area where our audience was the largest were asked to provide proof of vaccination or a negative test.”

“We can’t control who gathers for the Black History Parade because it’s not a ticketed event, so out of an abundance of caution we are cancelling it —but supplementing with several other smaller and virtual events.”

The Black History Parade has traditionally featured about 80 entries, including the Wilson Middle School Drum Corps, the Tournament of Roses 2020 Royal Court, the Pasadena City College Band, the John Muir, Blair and Pasadena high school marching bands, musicians; dancers; equestrians; local youth groups; dignitaries; community leaders; and vintage and custom cars.

Usually held on the third Saturday of February, the parade and festival last took place on Feb.15, 2020.

“The Black History Parade is super important as we keep alive the importance of a people at the heart of the founding and growth of a complex city named Pasadena,” said Councilmember John Kennedy. “So, it is with some sorrow that the parade was cancelled, but I suspect that decision was made based upon the science underpinnings COVID-19. The risk of significant spread of the virus must have been the most relevant factor. However, I am also told that many of the other wonderful activities associated with Black History Month will take place.”

The City and Black History Planning Committee will go ahead with hosting a wide variety of free family-friendly events this year in celebration of Black History Month. All events comply with Pasadena Public Health Department COVID-19 protocols.

The cancellations continued on Thursday when the city announced that the Department of Housing has requested an exception from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in order to postpone Pasadena’s annual Homeless Count until late February.

Last Monday, Health Director Dr. Ying-Ying Goh and Dr. Lori Morgan of Huntington Hospital updated the City Council on city efforts in the fight against the virus.

Pasadena is currently averaging 361 new COVID cases a day up from 33 a day just three weeks ago. About 90 percent of local eligible residents have been vaccinated. Nine people have died from the virus in recent weeks.

“These are extremely challenging times for hospitals right now,” Morgan said. “We are pausing elective surgeries for the time being in order to guarantee adequate beds. Our healthcare workers are exhausted. We have a number of staff that are out.”

Morgan also emphasized the need for vaccination and booster shots.

As of Thursday morning Huntington Hospital reported there were 107 patients battling the virus in the hospital. Twelve of them are in the intensive care unit.

On Wednesday, Pasadena reported four COVID-19-associated deaths and 424 confirmed new cases, which pushed the city past 20,000 cumulative cases since the pandemic began.

“Our positive cases in Pasadena have reached record highs and until we bring these numbers down we will continue to re-evaulate our events citywide,” Derderian said.

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2 thoughts on “City Clarifies Cancellation of Black History Parade

  • Easy answer… rose parade is about the money! Tv contracts, hotel rooms, grand stand seats.

    Is everyone starting to wake up to the hypocrisy?

  • And yet the Rose Bowl Half Marathon/5K, which is expecting attendance of 8,000 people, is still taking place this weekend.