Marchers take to the streets of Hunts Point for tThe 15th annual Fish Parade on June 16.

Fish Parade marchers salute Puerto Rico storm survivors

An array of colorful and vibrant marchers and vehicles caravanned down Lafayette Avenue for the 15th Annual Hunts Point Fish Parade on June 16, including dance troupes and about a dozen local organizations and civic groups.

Marchers take to the streets of Hunts Point for the 15th annual Fish Parade on June 16.

Residents joined about a dozen South Bronx organizations to take to the streets of Hunts Point for the 15th Annual Hunts Point Fish Parade on June 16.

The parade followed the route it has every year since it was established in 2004, starting at Hunts Point Riverside Park and winding its way through the streets of the peninsula to Barretto Point Park. An estimated 200 spectators made the mile-long march. 

“Building Community is Never Done Alone,” was this year’s theme.

Residents who were honored at this year’s ceremony at Barretto Point Park included community activist Mrs. Cybeale Ross, boxing gym & cultural center El Maestro, Inc., the New York Harm Reduction Educators, Real Life Church, and 720 Hunts Point Avenue Tenants Association. Posthumous honorees included community activists Marie Davis and Edd Lee.

Greenworkers Cooperative, St. Mary’s Park Dancers/SMK, and the National Puerto Rican Parade Inc., who brought about five Puerto Rican Pueblos were among the groups that participated this year. 

Hunts Point native and poet Mariposa Fernandez led the parade, wearing a mermaid-themed outfit and encouraging spectators with calls of “wepa!” She waved the flag of Vieques, Puerto Rico to remind onlookers of the damage done by Hurricane Maria, which claimed nearly 5,000 lives on the island, and to salute Puerto Ricans for their strength during the recovery.

“It’s important for us to focus on our resilience, and that this is a celebration of everything we’ve overcome, are overcoming and transforming,” said Fernandez.

Danny Peralta, executive managing director of The Point CDC says he has noticed changes in the parade over the seven years he has been involved. The Point has helped organized the annual event every year since its inception.

“I feel like more people have been coming out,” said Peralta. “I think the thing that changes the most is the generation of people that come out and enjoy it.” 

Once the throng arrived at Barretto Point Park, they were treated to live music, competed in a costume contest and danced to salsa music. As this years’ honored guests gathered on the stage, cheers erupted for Fernandez as she listed the their accomplishments on behalf of the community.

“The Bronx is experiencing what they’re calling a ‘revitalization’ but I don’t use that word. This is not a revival because we were never dead,” she said. “This is about us transforming everything that doesn’t work in our community and all the injustices that we shouldn’t have to be subjected to.”