SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The 2021 Springfield Puerto Rican Parade was held virtually at 11 a.m. Sunday.
The event will also air Monday, September, 20 on Mass Appeal. 22News Reporter Kristina D’Amours hosted the event.
This year’s theme is “Continuing Our Resilience,” (Continuando Nuestra Resiliencia). The theme symbolizes the resilience of the Puerto Rican community during the pandemic and the hopes to move forward.
Parade organizer Jade Rivera-McFarlin told 22News the decision to go virtual was due to uncertainties with the pandemic, including the Hispanic population, which remains the most vulnerable to COVID-19 as well as the community’s low vaccination rates.
According to the Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts, 32% of the Hispanic population in Hampden county are vaccinated against COVID-19. “Our population has proven to be one of the most vulnerable and least likely to be vaccinated”, said Victoria Ann Rodriguez, Parade Committee President. “That being said, we feel that it is in the best interest of the community to be virtual again this year,” she added.
This year, the kickoff also included an infectious disease specialist to speak about the importance of getting vaccinated against COVID-19. The committee says it is to encourage more people to get vaccinated so the parade can be held in person in 2022.
Jade Rivera Mcfarlin of the Springfield Puerto Rican Parade Committee said, “We love sharing our culture so when we have these parades it’s a pretty big deal for our community to come out, to be happy with each other, to listen to our music, and eat our food. And though we aren’t able to be live we wanted to be able to do it in some shape or form.”