Participants at Sunday's 76th annual East Los Angeles Mexican Independence Day parade. Photos by Carmen González

As floats and parade participants prepared to march westbound on Cesar E. Chavez Ave., families started to gather at Gage Ave., at what parade-watchers thought would be the end of the parade.

Deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department quickly informed watchers that the parade would be ending on Record Ave. instead of where it was initially announced. 

Many scurried to try and catch good spots. 

Crowds gathered along César Chávez Ave. for the parade. Photos by Carmen González

The 76th annual East Los Angeles Mexican Independence Day parade and festival were held Sunday. With tents and umbrellas to help alleviate the sun, people watched and cheered from the sidewalks as the parade began. 

This year’s parade theme was “Empowering Latina Women” and it was dedicated to the legacy of former County supervisor Gloria Molina, who died in May. 

Public Matter’s “East LA Moves/ East LA se Mueve” project led the march. The group had a giant walker assistant device piñata as a way to promote the benefits of people-powered and public transportation in Los Angeles.

Participant Kristie Hernandez said that growing up in unincorporated East LA meant this event was an annual family tradition – and as an adult she has continued the tradition. 

“So much of our culture is represented,” Hernandez said. “We have local vendors, whether it’s the mariachi or the food, that come out. It’s almost like you want to return the favor and come out like they have for us. ” 

Official representatives from various Mexican states marched in traditional wear, but the crowd grew more excited seeing students from the area march. 

Both Esteban E. Torres and Boyle Heights STEM Academy had students marching with their school gear. James A. Garfield High School had their principal, JROTC, drill dance team, drum line, and associated student body participate.

Local elected officials also marched through the parade. Congressman Jimmy Gomez waved to the people. L.A. city councilmember Kevin de León shot confetti cannons. L.A. Mayor Karen Bass gave a grito for the crowd. Assemblymember Miguel Santiago got out of his car and danced with different ladies from the sidewalks. 

Some estimates put Sunday’s parade and festival crowd at 20,000.

Although East L.A. was in 90 degree weather Sunday, the heat did not stop the crowds from continuing the festivities after the parade. Food trucks and resources lined Mednik Ave. Entertainment ranged from mariachis to bands. 

Carmen González is a radio host and reporter. She was a youth reporter for Boyle Heights Beat from 2017 to 2019 where they wrote about societal issues and hosted the Boyle Heights Beat podcast, Radio...

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