Around the UFT

West Indian Day Parade

Spirit of the Caribbean

A vibrant UFT contingent gets into the spirit of the day.Jonathan FickiesA vibrant UFT contingent gets into the spirit of the day.

Marie Cajou, a teacher at the Boerum Hill School for International Studies in BrJonathan FickiesMarie Cajou, a teacher at the Boerum Hill School for International Studies in Brooklyn, shows off the traditional dress of her native Haiti. After 50 years, the annual West Indian Day Parade has lost none of its dazzle and pizazz. And once again the UFT was there with a colorful float and some 70 members and parent activists who joined the two-mile march down Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, on Sept. 4. An estimated 2 million spectators lined the parade route, dancing and swaying to the music of steel bands as costumed celebrants filled the streets to celebrate Caribbean culture, just days before Hurricane Irma devastated islands in that region. While educators Lorine and Hector Romero have been marching in the parade for 25 years, it was a first for Donna Richards, a teacher at PS 92 in Brooklyn. “It was a great experience, walking alongside fellow members and giving out beads and fans and highlighters to the viewers who happily accepted them,” Richards said. Her calendar is already marked for next year. Lorine Romero, a teacher at PS 76 in Manhattan, who marched with Hector Romero, a paraprofessional at IS 220 in Brooklyn, said the presence of the UFT is important because it shows “we as educators are supportive of diverse cultures.” She added, “Marching in the parade is a high point for me because it marks the ending of summer and the beginning of a new school year.” Anthony Harmon, the UFT director of Parent and Community Outreach and the union’s parade organizer, noted that the celebration began two days earlier at the Children’s Festival at the Brooklyn Museum of Art.

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