Dominican Parade in Manhattan Is Seen as ‘What America Is All About’

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A report by Jeffery C. Mays for the New York Times.

Thousands of New Yorkers celebrated Dominican culture and music in Midtown Manhattan on Sunday as the 35th annual Dominican Day Parade took over Avenue of the Americas.

The crowd, which stretched from 36th to 52nd Street, waved the red, white and blue flag of the Dominican Republic and danced to the sounds of merenguebachata and hip-hop pumping from enormous speakers that had been hoisted onto floats.

The truck for Goya Gives, the charitable arm of Goya Foods, literally bounced as a live band jammed and the master of ceremonies shouted, “Who’s proud to be Dominican?”

The parade also honored a police officer, Miosotis Familia, who was killedon July 5 in the Bronx when a man fired into the window of an RV-style police command post. Officer Familia was a 48-year-old mother of three who had spent much of her 12-year career in the Bronx.

Her daughter Genesis Villella thanked the Dominican Day Parade for honoring her mother, saying, “She deserved this.”

Also in the minds of paradegoers were the white nationalist rallies in Charlottesville, Va., where a 32-year-old woman was killed and at least 19 others injured when a car smashed into a line of cars near a group of counterprotesters.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, who received a warm reception from the crowd and a tepid chant of “four more years” as he marched at the front of the parade, called President Trump’s response to the rallies inadequate.

Mr. Trump has come under criticism from his own party for his remarks on Saturday in which he blamed “many sides” for hatred and violence and did not explicitly condemn the white nationalist marchers, who were protesting the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee from a local park. Some of those protesters carried pro-Trump signs.

“The president of the United States needs to do more,” Mr. de Blasio, who is seeking re-election this fall, said in a news conference before the parade. “President Trump needs to speak out. He needs to say this was an act of domestic terror. He needs to condemn the white supremacist movement clearly.”

Mr. Trump is to return to his Trump Tower residence on Monday for the first time since he was sworn in as president.

“I hope while he’s here, he thinks about the values of this place,” Mr. de Blasio said.

Martin Baez, 44, an activist for the disabled who is Dominican and marched with Mr. de Blasio, said the parade rebutted what happened in Virginia.

“What happened yesterday was terrible and un-American,” Mr. Baez said. “What’s happening today is what America is all about, freedom, liberty and culture.”

Valentine Moseley, 60, a paramedic from East New York, Brooklyn, said he brought his 15-year-old son, Joseph, to the parade because he wanted him to experience the diversity of the city.

“I want him to experience other cultures,” said Mr. Moseley, who is Jamaican. “To see people like those in Virginia who hate because of color doesn’t make sense. God created us. We’re all human beings.”

A vendor, Kevin Travek, sat near the end of the parade route draped in a Dominican flag and selling miniature Dominican flags for $3 each. Asked if he was Dominican, Mr. Travek flashed a smile.

“I am today,” he said. “Listen to all this good music. Look at all these good-looking people out here today.”

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