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PR- 343-05
September 13, 2005


The Mayor, a Parade Grand Marshal, Marched Eastern Parkway with “The Mighty Sparrow”

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg spent Labor Day 2005 as the Grand Marshal of the 38th Annual West Indian-American Day Parade.   Before marching in this year’s parade, Mayor Bloomberg delivered the following remarks at the 38th Annual West Indian-American Day Parade breakfast at Lincoln Terrace Park at Buffalo Avenue and Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn.  

“This parade is a great tradition, and this year, it really is going to be better than ever and we’re going to keep improving it.  But I think it’s true that this year as we march, our hearts will be heavy at the thought of those on the Gulf Coast who have suffered so much.

“I want you to know that our City has responded to every request that we’ve gotten so far.  This morning 300 more firefighters flew down to the Gulf and we have 300 police officers either there or on their way. And we will be there with equipment or anything that we are asked to do. We remember that New York was helped when we suffered so tragically four years ago and we understand that we as a city have a special obligation to help everybody else. 

“I’ve also asked houses of worship, and schools, and other groups to collect hurricane relief funds. If anybody doesn’t know where to send money and would like to, call 311 or send a check to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York and we’ll make sure that it gets it to those relief agencies that are on the ground there and make that they really help people.  

“I think the West Indian community understands this type of disaster all too well.  Sadly time and time again, many of the West Indian islands have been hit by natural disasters and people have died and people have suffered, but every time there has been teamwork and generosity to help those who have suffered, that have let them recover. 

“We will do it again if we’re asked. We will be there for the people of the Gulf Coast and nobody should think that we’re ever going to walk away.  

“But, I think it’s true that even as we send help to the Southeast we ask ourselves, ‘how could this have happened in the richest nation on earth?’ The sad fact is that the vast majority of those who were left behind in New Orleans were either Black, poor people, or both. How could we have turned our backs on those who have needed our help for so long, for so many years that they were left to fend for themselves when disaster struck? As a nation we all are to blame and we al must do better the next time.

“It is a great privilege to march in this parade, particularly to march with Lieutenant Colonel Irving Donaldson. He is another one of those people that’s gone out and has helped to defend this country and protect the freedoms that we love so much.

“So, let us go out and celebrate everything that’s wonderful about another community that’s contributed so much to New York, but let us not forget that not everybody is as fortunate as we are and we have a special obligation to help them. God bless and have a good day.”   

The parade’s other grand marshals, U.S. Representative Barbara Lee, State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, U.S. armed forces officials McCatha Lewis and Colonel Irving Donaldson joined Mayor Bloomberg on Eastern Parkway as he marched with “The Might Sparrow,” Crown Heights Youth Collective Executive Director Richard Green, and Medgar Evers College President Dr. Edison Jackson.      

New York City’s Labor Day West Indian American Parade is sponsored by the West Indian American Day Carnival Association.   Those involved in making this year’s parade a success include West Indian Day Carnival Association President Yolanda Lezama-Clark, West Indian Day Carnival Association Marketing and Public Relations Director Jean Alexander, West Indian Day Carnival Association Arts and Culture vice president and director Ken Fustin, and West Indian American Day Carnival Association general member William Howard.


Edward Skyler / Paul Elliott   (212) 788-2958

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