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DHPSNY Antiracism Resources: Hispanic Heritage Month

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This article originally appeared on the DHPSNY website.

In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month we are highlighting a project that is successfully preserving the history of the Puerto Rican community and the larger Hispanic community on Long Island. In 2021, the New York State Archives Documentary Heritage Program funded a project by Teatro Experimental Yerbabruja to survey and preserve the records of the annual Puerto Rican/Hispanic Day Parade in Brentwood, NY. The Parade, which has taken place since 1966, has served as an anchor of cultural affirmation for multiple generations of Puerto Ricans and other Latinos who, year after year, have gathered along Fifth Avenue in Brentwood. Due to changes in the parade leadership and in the community, there was no systematic effort to collect and preserve the history of this cultural institution on Long Island. 

According to Suffolk County records, the Parade has consistently attracted more than 50,000 spectators, and more than 3,000 participants who have paraded each year displaying a variety of artistic forms and celebrating Latino culture. The Parade is ranked as the largest annual parade of its kind on Long Island, and the second largest in New York State (exceeded only by the Puerto Rican Day Parade in Manhattan). Organizing and ultimately making accessible the records of 55 years of the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Day Parade on Long Island will honor the Puerto Rican community whose members were the pioneers in sharing their cultural heritage and opening the doors to Long Island’s other Latino cultures. At the beginning of the project there was no publicly available historical record of the Long Island Puerto Rican/Latino community’s cultural contributions, even though it is the area’s fastest growing population. Read more...