MHC, Fil-Am Groups Join July 4th Parade in Philly
By Marivir R. Montebon
New York — The Migrant Heritage Commission joins with other Fil-Am groups in the east coast today in representing the Philippines in the July 4th Independence Day Parade in historic Philadelphia, seat of American independence.
More than a hundred Philippine participants will don colorful costumes of the Mountain province/Igorot Suite, Tribal/Ethnic Suite, Rural or Barrio Fiesta Suite, Southern Philippines or Muslim Suite, and Spanish or Maria Clara Suite in the only nationally televised parade today.
They will be joining an expected crowd of 5000 participants in celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 50th year of the civil rights movement.
“We’re lucky that the Philippines/MHC has been selected to join the July 4th Parade. So we’re enjoining all our kababayans to take part in this once-a-year celebration under the Philippines banner. This is the only televised parade because it is held in the city where American independence took place. This is our way of increasing visibility in the society’s mainstream,” said Grace Valera, MHC co-executive director and manager for its cultural development program.
It has been MHC’s third year of joining the independence parade in Philadelphia.
Aside from the MHC, participating groups include the Ilocano Society of America, Inc. (ISA), ISA’s Miss Teen Philippines-America, Fil-Am Ministry of St. Michael of Silver Spring, MD, the Ultimate Eskrima International, the Association of Filipino Teachers in America (AFTA), Fil-Am Heritage Dance Ensemble, Mabuhay Inc., volunteers from various church-based Fil-Am groups, the Sunflower Int’l Cultural Institute, and the Aklan Ati-Atihan of Virginia.
From Philadelphia, the Filipino-American Association in Philadelphia (FAAPI), Philippine Folk Arts Society, the Philippine Nurses Organization of Philadelphia and Bucks County and from Delaware, the Philippine Nurses Organization of Delaware Valley, Inc. will join the parade.
Contingents from New Jersey and New York will attend as well.
The parade begins at 10 o’clock in the morning today at 5th and Chestnut Streets and ends at Front and Market Streets.
The Filipino-American Association in Philadelphia will host a Lunch Picnic and Street Line Dancing in the mid-day, and a spectacular display of fireworks will cap the celebration in the evening.
On July 4th, 1777, the Continental Congress formally adopted the Declaration of Independence, which had been written largely by Thomas Jefferson of the State of Virginia. Though the vote for actual independence took place on July 2nd by the 13 States (with New York in abstention), from then on the 4th became the day that was celebrated as the birth of American independence.