Northeastern Illinois University's student-run newspaper

NEIU Independent

Northeastern Illinois University's student-run newspaper

NEIU Independent

Northeastern Illinois University's student-run newspaper

NEIU Independent

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Honoring Puerto Rican Traditions: NEIU Community Marches in Parade

Zulmaris Crespo

On a beautiful Saturday, June 10, 2023, a spirited group of over 25 students, faculty and staff—joined by esteemed Board of Trustee Members Marvin Garcia and Michelle Morales—marched in the 45th annual Puerto Rican Day Parade. 


Board of Trustees Vice Chair Garcia generously donated the funding to rent the float and other materials used for decoration.  Accompanying the participants were notable NEIU administrators, including Dr. Terry Mena, Vice President and Dean of Students for Student Affairs, along with Paola Vargas, Assistant to the Vice President.


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The festivities began at 11 a.m. as parade participants eagerly gathered to embellish the float.  Volunteers artfully adorned the float with vibrant balloons and banners, showcasing the colors of NEIU’s beloved Golden Eagles. The day itself could not have been more picturesque—with abundant sunshine and a cloudless sky—as temperatures soared past 85-plus degrees. The University even treated everyone to refreshing popsicles from a nearby street vendor.


By 2 p.m., the parade set off on its journey down Division Street, meandering through the heart of Humboldt Park, a vibrant Puerto Rican neighborhood. The parade gracefully proceeded westward, making its way toward Humboldt Drive. Leading the float’s path was Goldie, NEIU’s exuberant mascot, captivating the crowd with infectious dance moves. 


As the float elegantly moved forward, participants joyously waved to the cheering parade attendees, who lined both sides of the street in a display of unity and celebration. Eager NEIU volunteers distributed promotional materials, including stylish T-shirts, informative brochures and engaging pamphlets to support the University.


Throughout the event, there were moments of jubilance as confetti cannons showered the delighted onlookers in the crowd. The lively beats of Puerto Rican-themed music emanated from powerful loudspeakers, setting the stage for impromptu dancing in the streets. Amidst this exuberance, the float continued its steady progress, creating an unforgettable experience for all those present in the Humboldt Park neighborhood.


NEIU senior Jasmine Rodriguez enjoyed participating in the parade and stated, “It was my first time attending the Puerto Rican Parade. I saw support for so many social struggles like Free Palestine and Boycott Florida.”

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