Dance

Dancers perform down the streets of Pasadena during the 2019 Latino Heritage Parade. (City of Pasadena/Submitted)

From the gifting of Rancho San Pascual to Eulalia Pérez de Guillén Mariné in the 1820s to the honoring of three JPL employees working on NASA’s landmark Mars Perseverance rover mission, Pasadena’s Latino communities have had a historic impact on the city’s growth and journey to the successes it enjoys today.

In celebration of Latino Heritage Month, the City of Pasadena has begun its 24th annual Latino Heritage Celebrations, which includes a month-long schedule of family-friendly activities and events that run through Friday, Oct. 28.

From the grand “Fiestas Patrias” with the Parade of Flags and crowning of the queen to chocolate skull making to painting with aguas frescas, there are festivities for everyone. The city’s marquee event, however, is the Latino Heritage Parade and Festival that runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 1. This year’s theme is “De Colores // An Array of Colors,” recognizing the rich diversity in Latino cultures, values and traditions.

“Every year, the Latino Heritage Committee votes on a theme,” said Pamela Cantero-More, superintendent of Pasadena’s Recreation and Community Services. “Two years ago, we didn’t have a parade, but we had various events…The committee felt very passionate of the theme ‘De Colores,’ and they wanted to hold onto that theme for 2022 because they wanted to have the parade.

“The reason why they felt so passionate is because within the Latino community, we are very diverse. Many individuals may be from different parts of the world and may be Latinos. Some of us may be a lighter shade and some of us may be darker. Some of us may have straight hair and some of us may have curly hair. So that is one of the big statements, that the committee felt that they wanted to highlight the diversity within the Latino community.”

As a visual celebration of the diversity of Pasadena’s Latino communities, the parade and festival will welcome all members of the community, local schools, community groups, elected officials and dignitaries, to walk the streets south from Los Robles Avenue and Prescott Street to the Villa Parke Community Center before enjoying live entertainment, educational booths, free activities for children and food available for purchase.

More than 2,000 participants and spectators are expected to attend the event, led by the parade’s grand marshal Liliana Pérez, cultural affairs director for the LA Chargers, and community grand marshal Yoland Trevino, founder and executive director of Pasadena/Altadena Coalition of Transformative Leaders (PACTL).  

Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, grand marshal Pérez immigrated to Los Angeles in 1971 and attended California State University, Northridge. She has since held senior leadership roles in the offices of six Speakers of the California Assembly and been recognized for her advocacy work on behalf of marginalized populations, including the LGBTQ community, immigrants and women.

“Every year we have a request form to nominate grand marshals,” Cantero-More explained. “We had 15 entries that were submitted by the community for individuals that they felt would be deemed of this honor, one of them being Liliana…Her bio and the information that was provided highlighted the amount of work that she had done within local communities and communities all over California as she was working in the public sector in addition to her new role with the Chargers…The community felt very passionate about all of the work that she had done.”

Since immigrating to the U.S. from Guatemala in 1966, community grand marshal Trevino has become recognized nationally and internationally for her innovative programs like developing a community-based mental health model that trained natural community leaders to become paraprofessionals.

 She has served on educational committees such as the Clinton Administration’s Domestic Policy Council, been the global council chair of the United Religions Initiative and later founded Transformative Collaborations International (TCI).

“Yoland has been a very well-known Latina leader in Pasadena,” Cantero-More described. “She has been working with Pasadena for several decades now. Many of us have seen her like a mentor who helped shape who we are today, and we see the accomplishments that she has and her passion for the community.”

During the Latino Heritage Parade and Festival, motorists are advised to use caution while driving through the area and the following streets will be closed on Oct. 1st: Garfield Avenue, between Parke Street and Villa Street, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Villa Street, between Garfield Avenue and Los Robles Avenue, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.; Los Robles Avenue, between Washington Boulevard and Villa Street, 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.; Prescott Avenue, between Los Robles Avenue and North El Molino Avenue, 7:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.; North El Molino Avenue, between Washington Boulevard and East Claremont Street, 7:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.   

The full schedule of Pasadena’s Latino Heritage Month festivities can be found at cityofpasadena.net.

“This is an event that brings the community together,” Cantero-More said. “After two years of not being able to host events…I think that is what makes this extra special this year, to be able to have this event in the city and celebrate together as a community once again.”

The City of Pasadena’s Latino Heritage Parade and Festival

WHERE: The parade begins at Los Robles Avenue and Prescott Street, heads south on Los Robles Avenue and ends at Villa Parke Community Center, 363 E. Villa Street, Pasadena.

WHEN: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 1

COST: Free

INFO: pasadenalatinoheritageparade.org