In the days leading up to the annual Puerto Rican Day Parade of New York City (June 11), opposing political views are more and more eclipsing the festival’s otherwise shining light. Last week, it was reported Goya Foods – a 60-year sponsor – pulled out from the parade and cited “business” as the reason why. Soon thereafter, New York City Police Commissioner James O’Neill said Monday (May 22) that he will not be participating after parade organizers announced they will be honoring pro-independence, Puerto Rican nationalist Oscar López Rivera.
Today, union officers of the Fire Department of New York released an official statement saying they, too, are protesting the parade.
“Oscar Lopez Rivera’s actions led to the death and serious injury of innocent civilians and Police Officers. He is a convicted felon, plain and simple, and one who has not apologized or repented for his cowardly attacks,” said Jake Lemonda, President of the FDNY officers Union, and the Executive Board of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association. “It is also important to note that he has not been pardoned for his crimes; he merely had his sentence shortened. His conviction stands and the idea of honoring someone such as he should be rejected by all.”
He also applauds and support the decision of the FDNY Hispanic Society boycotting the 2017 Puerto Rican Day Parade:
“Hispanic Americans have a long and proud history of service to America whether in the military, law enforcement or the fire service. That history now has a proud new chapter courtesy of the FDNY Hispanic Society’s decision to reject and protest the outrageous decision to honor a convicted felon in the very city where the attacks took place. Our motto is, “In Unity There is Strength” and the UFOA is proud to stand united with the FDNY Hispanic Society as they show great leadership on this issue.”
UPDATE 5/23/17 12:08 PM EST
Add the Yankees (yes, the Bronx Bombers) and JetBlue as official boycotters of the 2017 Puerto Rican Day Parade…
“Police Commissioner James O’Neill cited the bloodshed caused by the Puerto Rican nationalist group once run by Oscar López Rivera, who will be hailed at the June 11 march by the organizers of the annual celebration,” reports the New York Post.