A virtual Who’s Who in New York politics made their presence felt during Monday’s massive West Indian-American Day Carnival Parade on Brooklyn’s Eastern Parkway.
Gov. Kathy Hochul, Mayor Eric Adams, Senate Major Leader Chuck Schumer, Congressional Reps. Hakeem Jeffries and Yvette D. Clarke, and New York Attorney General Letitia James were among a host of elected officials on hand at the Pre-Carnival Breakfast, at the Lincoln Terrace Court on Buffalo Avenue, at the beginning of the parade route, and during the 3 ½ mile-long-route.
Schumer – flanked by Brooklyn Democratic Party Leader, Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte-Hermelyn, the daughter of Haitian immigrants – told the Pre-Carnival Breakfast that there are more Caribbean nationals in Brooklyn than elsewhere in the US.
Along the parade route, he used a megaphone to greet spectators, saying, among other nationalities: “Hello Jamaica, hello Barbados, hello Trinidad and Tobago, hello St. Lucia, hello Grenada…”
After receiving the microphone from Schumer at the Breakfast Ceremony, Bichotte-Hermelyn, who represents the 42nd Assembly District in Brooklyn, said she wanted “everyone to be safe” during the parade.
“This is about our freedom,” she added.
“We’re here to celebrate the Caribbean culture,” said Hochul ahead of Adams’s address at the Pre-Carnival Breakfast Ceremony, giving a special “shout-out” to Clarke and her mother, the trail-blazing, Jamaican-born, former New York City Councilwoman Dr. Una S.T. Clarke.
“I can’t wait to dance,” added Hochul before proposing five college scholarships in honor of the late Caribbean-American signer and civil rights icon Harry Belafonte, whose mother hailed from Jamaica. “Have a great celebration.”
Adams said he was “very proud that a significant part of the parade” was broadcast live on WPIX 11 and ABC Channel 7.
“Hats off to the NYPD (New York Police Department) for safest carnival ever,” he added.
James told the Breakfast Ceremony: “As you march down Eastern Parkway, put your heads up high, because this is our celebration.”
Jeffries — whose 8th Congressional District includes parts of Brooklyn and Queens that is heavily populated by Caribbean-Americans – said he was “proud to be back in this parade as the highest member of the Democrats in Congress.
“Today, we celebrate the heart and soul of the Caribbean community,” he said. “On the parade, you’re going to see the great come-back in history.”
Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, who represents the 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn, said: “We’re one people separate by waters.”
As anti-immigrant sentiments pervade the nation, Clarke, one of the parade’s Grand Marshals, noted that one of the judges, who will be presiding over one of the criminal trials against former President Donald J. Trump, is a Jamaican national.
“Judgment will come from a Jamaican woman in Washington, D.C.,” she said.
“Let’s show the world how spectacular we are,” the congresswoman added. “One love, bless up and walk good.”
New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli thanked carnival organizer, the Brooklyn-based West Indian American Day Carnival Association (WIADCA), “for making New York City a better city.
“Enjoy the parade,” he added.
DiNapoli’s New York City counterpart, Brad Lander, said he was “delighted to celebrate.”
New York State Sen. Zellnor Myrie, whose grandmother hailed from Jamaica, and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, the sone of Grenadian immigrants, presents proclamations and citation to WIADCA.
“One love, peace and blessings,” said Williams at the Breakfast Ceremony, flanked by his wife, India Sneed Williams, and their 1-year-old and 15-year-old children.
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, whose parents hail from Puerto Rico, said it was “an honor and privilege” to celebrate with WIADCA Caribbean culture.
“It’s the safest parade we’re every had in the city,” he said. “Today, we have a parade from all walks of life.”