HISTORY OF CITY OF SAN PABLO AND RICHMOND ANNUAL CINCO DE MAYO PARADE: PEACE AND UNITY
For the past eleven years, the Cinco do Mayo Parade Committee reflects on the spirit and success of Cinco de Mayo celebrations in San Pablo/Richmond.
The celebration of Cinco De Mayo was initiated and borrowed from Mexican history by the Chicano student movement in the 1970’s throughout the Southwest, to commemorate the strength of a group of Mexican soldiers during the Battle of Puebla in 1862 against invading French troops. It was a battle during the period that France wanted to dominate in Mexico. This battle was significant because the Mexican troops were not as elaborately equipped as were the French and yet the Mexican troops won the battle primarily out of self-determination.
In 2004, with no organized celebrations in the area, the celebrations turned violent, due to drugs, alcohol and a lack of a theme of unity on 23rd st. As a result, a group of parents vowed to host a Parade and Festival, the event was alcohol-free, with a theme of Peace and Unity.
In early 2006, Richmond City Council member John Marquez and San Pablo City Council member Genoveva Calloway, were invited to participate in a meeting that was being held by a group of soccer parents/coaches at a local pizzeria. This group of parents had taken on the responsibility of changing the negative image of the previous Cinco de Mayo events portrayed in the media. They provided leadership in planning and promoting the positive image that the spirit of Cinco de Mayo deserved for the community and their children. As parents and volunteer coaches and organizers of youth soccer leagues, they’ve worked diligently and continue to bring new partners every year to plan the Cinco de Mayo celebrations. The Richmond 23rd Street Merchants Association took the responsibility for organizing a festival on 23rd Street and have been very successful in planning it every year, since then on Sunday. The parishioners of St. Paul’s Church in San Pablo have also held successful Cinco de Mayo festivals since then too, on the day of Parade.
The success of the Cinco de Mayo weekend celebrations are a testimony to the leadership of the parents, faith based organizations, local businesses, elected leaders, and community members committed to building a strong and better community. Their commitment truly embodies the spirit of Cinco de Mayo: self-determination and fighting against the negative images that unfortunately get reported in our community.
Cinco de Mayo has evolved in this country as a day to celebrate our diversity, strength and commitment to social justice for a better and stronger community.