Thousands march in Guyana Unity Parade

Guyanese-Americans gather for a Unity Concert at South Shore High School Park in Canarsie, Brooklyn, rally following the Guyanese Unity parade on Utica and Church avenues in East Flatbush, Brooklyn.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

The Guyanese Unity Parade on Sunday concluded a weeklong of events celebrating Guyana’s 50 years of independence with a display of pride.

Thousands walked the parade route in East Flatbush, which started at Utica and Church avenues. Parade goers descended down Utica Avenue waving flags, and sporting colors of Guyana’s flag as they created a sea of red, yellow, white, and green for the second year of Mashramani, a celebration of Guyanese state.

About 8,000 people turned out to walk in the jubilee event, according to an organizer. The parade route ended at South Shore High School field in Canarsie, with a free concert boasting of the best Guyanese artists.

“It was the best Guyanese concert ever,” said Rickford Burke, parade leader and chairman of the Guyanese 50th Independence Anniversary Celebration Committee.

“That was feedback to me — many people said it was best concert they have been to,” said Burke.

The 50th Independence Anniversary Celebration Committee in conjunction with the Consulate General in New York organized and scheduled a series of celebratory events in the New York City area for the Guyanese diaspora.

Amidst all the recent violence at parade events, including the random killing of Cary Gabay at the 2015 West Indian Day parade, organizers say with the large turnout, the outcome of the parade should be lauded.

“I want to stress that there were no incidents,” said Burke. “I want to congratulate the Guyanese people — to celebrate peacefully after two consecutive parades — it speaks to the decency and nature of Guyanese people, and we hope to continue that.”

The festivities, organized by the Guyanese Independence Anniversary Celebration Committee, included a concert featuring Guyanese artists such as Angels Caribbean Band, Ernesta Nelson, and winner of the talent show, The Voice UK, Jermain Jackman. Other notable visitors were state Sen. Roxanne Persaud (D–Canarsie) and Prime Minister of Guyana, Moses Nagamootoo.

Previous jubille events hosted a soccer match for the children, a dinner honoring the Guyana’s President David Granger, and the honoring of 50 persons earlier this month, where Mayor DeBlasio made some remarks.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimo[email protected]local.com.
Can’t take my country out of me: Vanessa Chance, born and raised in Georgetown, Guyana, displays her native country’s flag at the Guyanese Unity parade on Utica Avenue in East Flatbush, Brooklyn.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

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