The third annual Persian-Iranian Parade, held along the fifteen blocks of Madison Avenue in New York City on March 19, drew a record cheering crowd of Iranian Americans, curious tourists and mainstream Americans. The colorful parade, with a large number of activities, music bands, dance ensembles, flags and floats, carriages and performers, marchers and dignitaries, was an impressive display of Persian-Iranian pride. The parade has been sponsored in part by the non-profit public Persian-Iranian Parade Foundation (PIPF). This grassroots Foundation, comprised of hundreds of volunteers, artists, philanthropists and other professionals, has enabled the Iranian-American community to showcase its historical and cultural heritage of their homeland, and the substantive contributions of the one million Iranians in this country toward the U.S. as a whole.
An educational pamphlet, distributed along the parade route, describing the historical aspects of Norooz celebration, the Persian New Year, a brief history of Iran, and information on the Iranian-American Community, received much attention by the cheering onlookers. “Notwithstanding the current confrontation between the two governments, it is reassuring to note that Americans of Iranian ancestry feel sufficiently comfortable to proudly display their culturally rich heritage,” Mr. Broderick, a spectator commented.
In contrast to previous parades, the higher number of actively engaged second and third generation Iranian-Americans in the parade was noticeable. Sarah, a ten year old dressed as an angel on a float, when asked what she felt, responded, “It is one the happiest days of my life, as I look at waves of people who look and act like me!”
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