Black History Parade 2020
38th Annual Pasadena Black History Parade, Feb. 15, 2020 summary-
How it Went
Citizens’ Climate Lobby, Pasadena/Foothills Chapter, partnering with Alkebu-Lan Cultural Center, Side Street Projects, Compassionate Arts in Action, #When Black and Brown Go Green, Day One, and My Tribe Rise
See the video of the parade here, with our entry appearing at the 1 hour and 59 minutes point- Definitely worth viewing
Participants started showing up at 8:15AM on Fair Oaks Avenue up in Altadena, 4 blocks above Woodbury, in Altadena. Joe arrived with our show car, an electric Nissan Leaf, and a large contingent of participants who were waiting in nearby Charles White Park joined us in the staging area. To celebrate Black history, we honored Octavia Butler (1947-2006), an award-winning African American author who grew up and lived most of her life in Pasadena/Altadena. We also celebrated her 1993 novel, Parable of the Sower, a story that depicts a strong black teen character, Lauren Olamina, living in a future Los Angeles area world where climate change has fueled a frightening, lawless society filled with violence and suffering that causes Lauren and a small group to strike out north in search of a livable life. A possible view of our future? We hope not, and that’s why we were out there. Our parade participants, dressed raggedly (some with Citizens’ Climate Lobby shirts!) representing these refugees, and a sculptured figure of Octavia Butler, in a wheelchair, honored the writer.
Felecia and Dominique went to work completing the Octavia Butler likeness, Felecia led a rehearsal of actions, and tambourine wielding Veronica taught a series of chants to be called out during the parade, based on quotes from the book, including, “All that you touch, you change” and “All that you change, changes you.” Participants carried handmade signs with these quotes. The entry was led by an electric car, the front covered by a Citizens’ Climate Lobby banner, with other signs on the sides. The participants carried signs, pulled wagons containing fruits, vegetables, and supplies, and made a point to meet the eyes of parade watchers, while a pair of volunteers distributed flyers (one side told about Octavia Butler and the other contained images of climate change effects and invited people to CCL’s monthly meeting), CCL information cards, and small envelopes of California poppy seeds (a gift from Theodore Payne Foundation,) to acknowledge the “sower” theme. At the back, we had the Spanish CCL banner, which was good to have to refer to for a few of the Spanish-only spectators we talked with. Our participants included Tom, Lynne, Jeff, Sandy, Anne, Paula, Arnold, Nancy, Tim, Giovanna & her son, Miguel, Judy, John, Peggy, Joe, Veronica, Rex, Felecia, Dominique, Sylvia, Marissa, Victor, Heavenly, Anjie, and Kevin. Thank you everybody!
Our entry was #79 of 80, and following closely behind was a contingent of fire trucks, thrilling the kids with their sirens. Being near the end of the parade, we crossed the official start line around 11:30AM and finished at about 12:15PM. Citizens’ Climate Lobby went on to the Black History Festival in Robinson Park and staffed a booth (Sandy, Judy, Rex, Rob & Pearl) along with Felecia, representing Alkebu-Lan Cultural Center. We had some good conversations with people and got a couple of pages of contacts to invite to join Citizens’ Climate Lobby. Overall, it was a fun day and it was great to meet lots of new folks!
A few random observations: Though it was a challenge to completely visually link the climate change concept with Octavia Butler, the celebration of Miss Butler, a hometown celebrity, resonated with a lot of people (one lady knew Octavia’s mother, another said they shared a cousin, and others were moved, seeing her depiction and recognition of her writing.) It would have been nice to have enough people to carry the main CCL banner in English. Also, it would have helped to have more people on the sidewalk, able to talk to people and hand out flyers, etc. This was especially true in the last block or two before the announcers’ booth at the end of the route, where it was extremely crowded. It felt rewarding to be at an event honoring Black pride. Although the announcers at the end of the parade did not mention Citizens’ Climate Lobby itself, they did acknowledge that we have to start talking about climate change, which was one of the main goals of our participation in the event. It was very impressive to see all of our participants work together, getting positive attention for our message, and I think we all had a pretty good time in the process.
Rex Mayreis, Citizens Climate Lobby
Below are 24 snapshots from the day, including a slew of group shots taken at the end of the parade: