Puerto Rican Day Parade honors arts, culture trailblazers

June 09, 2019 - 4:05 pm

NEW YORK (AP/1010 WINS) -- Puerto Rican pride was on full display along Fifth Avenue, as the National Puerto Rican Day Parade held its 62nd annual event.

The grand marshal for Sunday's parade was singer Ricky Martin, who was celebrated along with his foundation, which fights human trafficking.

The parade took place as the city also marks Pride Month, and it paid posthumous tribute to Sylvia Rivera, an activist in the struggle for LGBTQ rights.

As part of the theme of "One People, Many Voices,'' others honored in the parade included singers La India and Jose Feliciano, golfer Chi Chi Rodriguez and baseball player Edgar Martinez.

The parade also recognized those who have been involved in rebuilding the island after Hurricane Maria.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he's returning to Puerto Rico to help rebuilding efforts after the hurricane.

Speaking at the parade, Cuomo said he's also appointing a commission to oversee the construction of a memorial to victims of the 2017 storm.

The memorial will be located in Manhattan's Battery Park City.

Cuomo, a Democrat, said more than 300 students from state-run colleges will travel to Puerto Rico over the summer to help the recovery.

Public health experts have estimated that nearly 3,000 people died in 2017 because of the effects of Hurricane Maria.

Cuomo says New York hasn't forgotten its pledge to stand with Puerto Rico every step of the way as it recovers from the storm.

Cuomo has already traveled to Puerto Rico five times since Maria hit.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was among the elected officials who turned out for the parade.

Mayor de Blasio wasn't at the parade, instead he was campaigning for president in Iowa.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. warned the mayor about putting Iowa voters ahead of the Puerto Rican vote.

"If that's the reason you're doing it, be careful with that message. Because you do it to your own political peril," Diaz Jr. said.

The mayor pointed to his long history of attending the parade and tweeted his support Sunday morning.

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