NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Dominican pride took over the streets of Manhattan Sunday afternoon as the 35th Annual Dominican Day Parade marched through Midtown.
Organizers say the parade, which started at noon, is one of the biggest parties of the year.
This year’s theme was a celebration of Dominican music and instruments.
“My mama here always taught me to be proud, right, of where I come from, so here we are, reppin’ DR,” said Lizzy from the Bronx.
Lizzy attended the parade with her mother and her cousin Kara, who lives in the Dominican Republic and is vacationing in New York. She told WCBS 880’s Mike Smeltz she saw a bit of home along Sixth Avenue.
“All the Dominicans – there’s like more Dominicans here than in the DR,” she said.
As CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported, many participants were proud to share Dominican traditions and accomplishments.
“I feel so proud of my country,” said Irma Lebron of Westchester Square, the Bronx.
“Everybody is a family,” said Pedro Barra of Westchester Square. “Everybody is one person.”
But there was also a more somber subject, as organizers dedicated Sunday’s parade to slain NYPD Detective Miosotis Familia, and presented her family with a lifetime service award.
Genesis Familia and her twin siblings, Peter and Delilah, were brought forward to witnes the latest honoring of their mother slain mother.
To signal the start of the parade, this memorial banner was folded and given to Genesis, to carry from 36th Street up to 52nd Street.
“I just want to thank the entire committee for the Dominican Day Parade — for dedicating this, something as magnificent as this, to my mother. And she deserves it,” she said. “I just want to say thank you.”
Participants and spectators said the most heartwarming part of the parade was seeing Officer Familia’s children marching with pride that their mother was being honored.
“It broke my heart, and I hope for them to move on and know that she is taking care of them in heaven,” said Oscar Parra of Westchester Square.
Detective Familia is recipient of the Parade’s Lifetime Service Award. She was assigned to an anti-crime unit in the Bronx.
On July 5t she was assassinated by a gunman, who was later killed by police. She was sitting in an NYPD Truck when it happened. Police say she was senselessly killed for her uniform.
“No one will forget that terrible loss — not us, not the City of new York. She was a police officer that was brutally killed. We could never forget that,” said U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.) “At least they should have some encouragement that they know there is a community that is about a million strong that will always have their backs.”
Police Commissioner James O’Neill, who appeared with the Familia children, put out a pre-parade message that summed up the feelings of so many here “that her legacy will never fade from importance or memory.”
The parade board is in the process of setting up an education fund for Familia’s children.