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We Are New London parade returns

New London — Whaler shirts, green umbrellas and blue baseball caps were some of the defining accessories as marchers walked down State Street on Sunday afternoon, showing their civic pride in the city during the We Are New London/Somos New London Parade.

"To everyone who loves New London, this parade is for you," said City Council President and Parade Chair Efrain Dominguez during the ceremony that followed the parade.

Dominguez said the parade started in 2016 but did not take place the last two years, making this year's parade the fourth one organized by the parade committee that included himself, Wanda Negron, state Rep. Anthony Nolan (D-New London), Adacil Dominguez, Ethien Dominguez and Luis Cotto.

"The parade is to celebrate who we are and rewrite the narrative," said Dominguez. "We are beautiful, we are strong, we are united, we are New London."

Negron said she was with Dominguez and Nolan, at a St. Patrick Day parade five years ago when the idea for a New London pride parade was born.

"The main purpose is to celebrate this beautiful city and everyone who makes it great," said Negron. "Not just schools and the city but organizations, businesses, and people of different cultures."

Partaking in the parade were various local groups such as New London High School's NJROTC colorguard, community leaders, Miss Mashantucket, Nathan Hale Magnet School, Church Oasis of Restoration, the fire department and sporting blue baseball caps with the letters DR, members of New London's Dominican Association.

The association's president, Juan Castillo, said he is proud to be a part of New London.

Protected from the sun, members of the New London Adult and Continuing Education program held green umbrellas in the parade. Adult and Continuing Education is open to adults looking to continue their education such as earning a GED, taking a credit diploma program or learning English as a second language.

The school's director, Denise Spellman, said the green umbrellas were given to students at the start of the school year, celebrating their return, and they thought to use them in the parade.

Spellman called the 35 students and staff in the parade a "great representation" of the school. 

After the procession down State Street, the parade committee and city officials held a ceremony in Parade Plaza recognizing community members. Unlike in past years, when the committee honored one or two individuals for their contributions to the city, this year's parade recognized everyone who contributed to the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Recognized with a plaque of appreciation from the city and certificates from the committee were representatives from the local schools, Board of Education, fire department and Mayor Michael Passero among many others.

In the midst of the heat Sunday during the ceremony, an NJROTC student fainted while holding the colorguard's banner. Fire Chief Tom Curcio said three or four students had overheated in their uniforms. They were treated by ambulance workers at Parade Plaza and transported to Lawrence + Memorial Hospital for evaluation.

Joanna Delancy of New London was at the parade with her grandson. Delancy said she often comes to the downtown area for community events. On Sunday, she was planning to watch the parade and stick around for Eat in the Street, commending her friend Barabara Neff, the cordinator of the summer event, for doing a "good job."

Following the parade, the final Eat in the Street event, this one with a Latin theme, was held. Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, the event highlighted various Latin performances and food, wrapping up the festive day with fireworks provided by Foxwoods Resort Casino. 

j.vazquez@theday.com

Members of Association De Dominicanos De New London march down State Street in the We Are New London parade Sunday, September 26, 2021. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)
Members of Association De Dominicanos De New London march down State Street in the We Are New London parade Sunday, September 26, 2021. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)

We Are New London Parade gallery

For more photos from the We Are New London Parade click here.

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