By Cyril Josh Barker
Organizers are gearing up for the 53rd Annual African-American Day Parade set for Sunday, Sept. 18 in Harlem. Before you head to the festivities, here are some things you need to know.
1. This year’s parade is back in person.
This year’s African American Day Parade is the first in-person parade in two years. In 2020 and 2021, the parade was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2022 event is the 53rd annual African American Day Parade. The parade was first held in 1969 and was started by Livingston Wingate and Conrad Peters along with 11 other community organizers. Founding organizers wanted “the community to come together and celebrate Black American heritage, talents and accomplishments, while also honoring our ancestors.”
2. Be sure to catch the Pre-Parade Show.
Before the parade starts there will be a Pre Parade Show from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in front of the reviewing stand at West 125th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard. The show will feature performances by Vy Higgensen’s Sing Harlem, The Remnant, 40 Plus Double Dutch and others.
3. Health takes the spotlight for this year’s theme.
The theme for this year’s parade is “Good Health is Essential” honoring individuals and organizations that have made key contributions to the African American community in the field of health.
4. The grand marshals are from the health community.
Several key people from the health community are serving as this year’s grand marshals. Among them are Sandra Lindsay, RN, DHSc of Northwell Health (the first person in America to get a COVID-19 vaccine), Pamela Abner of Mount Sinai Hospital, Dr. Gary Butts of Mount Sinai Hospital, Dr. Michelle Henry of Weill Cornell Medical College and Bernard Robinson of Northwell Health. NYC Public Schools Chancellor David. C. Banks is also serving as a marshal this year.
5. It’s Eric Adam’s first African American Day Parade as mayor.
History was made again this year when Eric Adams assumed office as Mayor of New York City. He’s the second African American elected to lead the city after the late David Dinkins. Adams is no stranger to the African American Day Parade. He previously marched as Brooklyn Borough President and as a state senator.
6. Speaking of politicians, be sure to wave when you see them.
Along with Mayor Adams, several other politicians will be at the parade. Expect to see Gov. Kathy Hochul, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and State Attorney General Letitia James. With the upcoming general election in November, there will also be several candidates walking the parade route.
7. Be sure to get there early.
The parade kicks off at 1pm and starts at 111th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard and heads down to 137th Street. It’s best to secure your spot early before the parade starts so you can see.
8. You’ll see your family, friends and neighbors IN the parade.
Several community and national organizations along with churches, labor unions, colleges, sororities and fraternities are participating in the parade. So, if you see someone you know walking the route, give them a shout!
9. The weather is supposed to be nice.
Sunday’s forecast is calling for sunny skies with a high in the mid to upper 80s. Be sure to bring water and wear light clothing.
10. Have fun!
The African-American Day Parade is a day where the community can come together for celebration and pride for our culture. Bring your family, see old friends and let’s make this the best parade ever!
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