Hundreds of people lined up on the sidewalks of Broadway on Saturday morning to watch the 2013 African Heritage Parade roll through the streets. Politicians, county freeholders and local officials, led the parade behind the ceremoniously armed flag bearers who kicked of the cavalcade at exactly 10am.
Different organizations marched with their massive banners through the procession: Bronze Shields of Passaic County, Paterson Mustangs, and numerous sponsors like Madison Avenue Christian Reformed Church.
There were parade carts with powerful social messages like one that had a painting of an African-American family sitting around the dinner table prepared to eat together, and above the painting was the message: “Family strength is the key to our future.”
There were teenagers handing out flyers that entreated adolescents to practice abstinence for their own sake. Social ill was not hard to find on Broadway, few minutes after the parade passed through, there were groups of men outside a liquor store holding bottles in brown bags near Lake Street.
A man, who watched the parade with his son, who was no older than 3, said he came down from the 2nd floor of his home, after hearing noise outside, to watch the parade. He was sitting in a chair on the sidewalk with his son on his lap watching as the spectacle passed in front of him.
Most had little complaints about the consecution except the school bands who arrived late after the procession had passed towards Eastside Park starting from the Masonic Temple Lodge 51. “I expected to see the follow up — the bands from High Schools,” said Frampton Chisolm, who is from Jersey City, and says he has been attending the heritage parade for the past 17 years. Mr Chisolm seemed a little disappointed at not seeing the high school bands from John F. Kennedy High School and Eastside High School march through the procession.
Dornice Barnes, who attended the parade for the first time said, “It was nice, you know. It just wasn’t long enough”.