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    Saturday, December 03, 2022

    City comes together for ‘We Are New London’ parade

    Students from the Regional Multicultural Magnet School walk along State Street during the We Are New London parade Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022. (Sarah Gordon / The Day)
    Selena Boyd, 11, plays the cymbals before marching with Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School in the We Are New London parade Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022. (Sarah Gordon / The Day)
    Members of New London Youth Football cheer during the We Are New London parade Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022. (Sarah Gordon / The Day)
    An onlooker waves from her window along State Street during the We Are New London parade Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022. (Sarah Gordon / The Day)
    Community members and parade organizers pause to take a selfie with the crowd during the We Are New London parade Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022. (Sarah Gordon / The Day)

    New London ― Sunday was a day all about the city.

    In its fifth year, the “We Are New London” Parade marched from the top of State Street down to Parade Plaza as a yearly reminder to celebrate all the different pieces of the community that create the city’s identity.

    “It’s the New London parade,” said Efraín Domínguez Jr., the president of New London City Council and chairman of the parade committee. “We want to pride ourselves on that.”

    “This is a parade for everyone who either works, lives here, or loves the city,” he added.

    In an effort to represent the city in the most complete way possible, groups from all over gathered in front of Washington Street Coffee House before making the right-hand turn onto State Street.

    New London public schools and surrounding magnet schools were out in full force. All three of the local colleges ― Connecticut College, Mitchell College and the Coast Guard Academy ― were well represented. New London youth football and cheer marched alongside members of the Junior ROTC. New London police and fire tailed the rest of the marchers in their trucks.

    John Smith, 16, and Julianna Morales, 15, of the Junior ROTC were excited to be out in the community instead of working on a Sunday afternoon.

    “I love my city,” Morales said. “Any time we do something for New London I’m always there. I’m always the first person to sign up.”

    Meanwhile, 8-year-old Christopher Silva said it was “fun” and “cool” to be with his teammates away from the football field for a change.

    And the Dionne family was out having fun in the crowd and spreading the good word of the Regional Multicultural Magnet School, which 8-year-old Isabelle said teaches her about other languages and cultures.

    David Dionne, Isabelle’s father, tried to sum up the parade for his four children.

    “We’re all one piece together, right?” he asked.

    “Yeah!” they responded.

    The Dionnes and the rest of the marchers filed in behind Coast Guard cadets, the Junior ROTC and the Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School band before making their way down State Street. There were spectators outside City Hall and some even sticking their heads out from apartment windows to cheer on the parade

    Members of the City Council ― Akil Peck, Reona M. Dyess and John D. Satti ― were waiting for marchers at Parade Plaza, as was Mayor Michael Passero, Superintendent of New London public schools Dr. Cynthia Ritchie, Police Chief Brian Wright and Fire Chief Thomas J. Curcio.

    Marchers settled in on the steps around the Whale Tail fountain before Dominguez addressed the crowd. State Rep. Anthony Nolan, D-New London, and Dominguez led the crowd in English and Spanish renditions of the Pledge of Allegiance. Passero led a “Go Whalers!” chant before recognizing the the community involvement of each of the city’s colleges with certificates of appreciation.

    “We have such a peaceful, beautiful city and it showed off on a day like today,” Passero said afterward. “The turnout is just fabulous.”

    Before the day’s events ended, the crowd cheered together once more:

    “We are beautiful! We are strong! We are united! We are New London!”

    k.arnold@theday.com

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