Latino History Parade/Festival

CCL Pasadena/Foothills participation in Latino Heritage Parade & Festival,
Sat. October 19, 2019

We had 13 spirited volunteers for the parade-Val, Marc, Kitty, Giovanna (and her husband, Brian, and sons, Miguel & Emilio, who turned 4 that day!), Nancy (and her husband, Tim), Eryn (and her daughter Lauren), Rex, and Anne (who we had just met at tabling for a League of Women Voters event 2 days before) in the parade, with 2 strollers and a wagon. There were 7 very active tablers at the festival- Nancy, Eryn, Giovanna, Kitty, Rex, and later Jordan & Dublin, with support from family members. Everyone had arrived at the parade route by 9:45 AM and we got moving down the route by 10:20. Four volunteers carried 2 banners (one in Spanish and one in English) at the head of our entry, followed by Val in her electric car, a Chevrolet Bolt, and a few of us in the middle, some actively passing out flyers and talking to people watching the parade on both sides of the street, with Rex on his bicycle. Signs on both sides of the car read, “Adios Gasolina, Hola Electicidad!” The group worked up a chant, made up on the spot, “Adios gasolina , arriba el sol!” (Goodbye gasoline, celebrate the sun!) and drew good attention. We were sandwiched between an impressive, but gas guzzling and exhaust spewing car (a 1950’s Buick, I think) and local Assemblyman, Chris Holden, who even posed for a picture with our group and banner. A short description was read about our entry at the announcing booth at the end of the parade route, Los Robles and Villa, and the announcer ended with the words, “They’ve got their work cut out for them!” We received good attention from people along the route and the orange late model Bolt more than held its own, even in the company of the flashy, restored classic cars. Amidst the many children in the parade, music, dancers, horses, and more, it was a fun morning and our part of the parade was over by just a little after 11AM.

Beginning at about 11:15, we tabled at the festival in Villa Park, sharing an overhead and table with a non-profit group, Montebello Housing Corp, whose board member, Robert Monson (also the co-chair of the parade) donated the space to us, saving over $150 (fee and liability insurance.) People were already milling around (we were located near the stage and close to one of the entrances to the festival area) and our very effective volunteers collected roughly 40-50 postcards and got about 30-40 people to sign up for more information. We passed out many more flyers and brochures to others. Over half of the people we talked to were more comfortable speaking Spanish than English, so bilingual volunteers had more in-depth discussions, but we all did the best we could, and the flyers (Spanish and English, back to back) helped explain why we were there. Our message was well received, and quite a few were very engaged in conversing with us. We found Spanish and English speakers both to be concerned about Climate Change. Some thanked us for being there, others said they were inspired by our parade entry, and an elderly woman, when asked if she would like a flyer, said, “Yes, I want to learn!” Pasadena City Councilman Victor Gordo, also a candidate for mayor, came over to us after speaking from the stage, and said he is interested in talking with us, and we will follow up on this. The volume of the band (which was very well received, inspiring a very full dance floor) in the last hour and a half made talking to people difficult, and near the end, we moved to a somewhat more distant table that had been vacated, and we were able to talk to a few more people, particularly after the performance was over. We were packed and departed by 4:30 PM.

Both the parade and the festival seemed to go very well overall, both for the organizers and CCL. All of our volunteers seemed to feel good about this attempt to reach out to the Latino community. Everything was very upbeat and fun. Rex’s volunteering with the Festival Committee was definitely helpful in getting to know people and getting a feel for the event and for the community. It was enjoyable working with them, we became friends. He was actually able to help their publicity effort in a few cases. Knowing the key people in the Parks Department helped a lot.

Where do go after this opening move? We can see how many of the people we met at this event come to a meeting or contact us. Can we translate concern about climate change into support for fee and dividend? Can we realistically incorporate Spanish speakers into the Pasadena-Foothills Chapter or hope to start a Spanish speaking chapter? We’ve got a bit to think and talk about.

Rex Mayreis