Caribbean pride was on full display when the Lions Clubs of District 20-K1 — in full regalia and with its newly elected Governor Anthony Cochran still helming — led a vibrant though scaled-down version of the West Indian Day Parade, last Monday, September 6 on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn.
Despite being largely postponed because of COVID, people turned out for the annual West Indian Day Parade. Select groups, like the Lions Clubs, marched a few blocks down the Parkway to the Brooklyn Museum. And the pols did too, including, among others: Mayor Bill De Blasio and the city’s First Lady Chirlane McRae; U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer; U.S. Congressmembers Yvette Clarke and Hakeem Jeffries; State Senators Stefani Zinerman and Kevin Parker; Manhattan Boro President Gale Brewer; Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez, and City Councilmembers Antonio Reynoso, a Brooklyn Borough President hopeful (Brooklyn) and Valerie Gibson, a Bronx BP contender.
After last year’s parade went virtual due to COVID health concerns, organizers promised a live event this year in some capacity that allows for the latest health protocols.
The producers of the parade share the Lions mission: “To empower and meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace and promote international understanding.” The West Indian Day Parade is held every Labor Day and runs down Brooklyn’s Eastern Parkway. It is part of the West Indian-American Carnival celebrations, which take place during and before Labor Day Weekend and include concerts, contests, children’s pageants, and private parties in addition to the main event, the parade.
In a graceful show of gratitude for the Lions support, Carnival Queen Kay Mason, reigning monarch for the past 10 years, joined the group, in front of the eastern end of the Museum on the Washington Avenue.
“We will be back on Eastern Parkway next year,” said Hercules Reid from the West Indian American Day Carnival Association. And the Lions hopefully will return with District 20- k1 with members holding, as they did on Monday, 30 flags representing nations of the Caribbean.