This year's 61 annual celebration was unlike any other with spectators looking to celebrate their heritage and spotlight Puerto Rico's hardships and lagging support the island has received following the devasting effects of Hurricane Maria.
Along the parade route in the heart of Manhattan, people also carried signs with tributes like "New York Stands with Puerto Rico", "You will not be forgotten" and "Decolonize Puerto Rico". "We're in the state of NY and we don't accept your denial".
Some demonstrators chanted "Respect Puerto Rico" as the parade passed Trump Tower.
"Maria unmasked that we are a colony", said Pabon, 66, of the Bronx.
Moments before taking his place in the annual Puerto Rico parade, Gov. Andrew Cuomo charged that the weak federal response to victims of Hurricane Maria is because of an inherit racism coming from the White House. Cuomo has been an outspoken proponent of the need to help Puerto Rico after the September storm.
"This is a very important parade and a very meaningful parade given the tragedy and the devastation of the homeland", Louis Maldonado said on Friday prior to Sunday's big parade.
Marchers chanted'Respect Puerto Rico as they passed Trump Tower on Sunday
Cuomo said the state is now organizing a rebuilding effort using state college students and other volunteers.
Saying that "the Island is still reeling from the storm and is expected to for several years", Senator Nellie Pou (D-Paterson) who has been active in several efforts to provide relief, and traveled to the island in February, encouraged evacuees to attend the session to acquaint themselves with resources "available to them here in New Jersey, whether they intend to make New Jersey their new permanent home, or return to Puerto Rico".
"It would be a missed opportunity this Sunday.if we don't show an act of solidarity, an act of protest, an act of defiance", he said, "to let the world know we still have a president and Congress that still has not done right by 3.5 million Americans".
The bodies of 307 people are now being kept in the morgue and in four refrigerated containers in a nearby lot, the authorities said. He and the group he was marching wore black T-shirts that reflect the Harvard study's estimate of the dead.
"If we consider it unacceptable for New Jersey or any other State to exist under those previously mentioned conditions for even just days at a time, it should be an outrage that this is still the case in Puerto Rico". He said the recovery was a "tough job".
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