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West Indian Day Carnival Parade

‘All about unity’
New York Teacher
Jonathan Fickies

There are plenty of smiles aboard the UFT float.

Jonathan Fickies
Denise Huggins (left) and Solange Isidore, teachers at PS 184 in Brooklyn, march down Eastern Parkway.

The first time Michelle Griffin attended the West Indian Day Carnival Parade was 30 years ago, and, boy oh boy, could that girl shake it. “I’m 51 now so if I shake it, I might break it,” quipped Griffin, a paraprofessional representative at Edward R. Murrow HS in Brooklyn, who marched with other UFT revelers. “My friends get a kick out of me because I’m a straight-up American girl from Brooklyn. But this is all about unity. Not just for our union but for everyone who comes out to dance and eat and learn about different Caribbean cultures.” The annual West Indian Day Carnival Parade — traditionally held on Labor Day — brings about 2 million people to Crown Heights. Much of the credit for getting more than 100 UFT members to join the festivities — riding on the UFT float or marching alongside it — goes to Anthony Harmon, the UFT director of parent and community outreach. “What a great time,” he said. “It’s a chance to celebrate the diversity of our members and the children and families they serve.” No one had to ask Davida Smith twice to come out for the parade. “It was on my bucket list to ride on the UFT float,” said Smith, a school counselor at MS 353 in Brooklyn. “I’ve done it! Now I’m losing weight so next year I’m going to get into one of those awesome costumes, a bikini with feathers in beautiful bright colors and a glittery headpiece.”

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