EAST MOLINE, Ill. (KWQC) – For the Rivera family, decked out in their country’s colors, the LULAC Quad Cities Parade and Fiesta was a chance to celebrate Mexican Independence Day.
Sandra Rivera says it’s about keeping the culture alive.
“We like our children to know where our roots are from,” Rivera says. “To never forget where we originally come from.”
This sentiment is echoed by the parade organizer Abel Zertuche, who started the parade with his wife Juanita, seven years ago.
Zertuche says he thinks the community needed a parade like this.
“We have a lot of Hispanics in our area,” he says. “Our goal is to bring everybody together.”
The parade also helps to remind the younger generations about their Mexican heritage. Rivera says her daughters will be able to look back at photos and ask questions about the history.
“They can see the outfits they wear in Mexico for Independence Day and what they wore back then for Independence Day,” she says.
The East Moline Hispanic community is a close-knit one.
Breon Hickman enjoys coming out to the parade each year and agrees the community benefits from events like this one.
“It keeps the community strong and keeps everybody involved,” Hickman says.
The parade featured a mariachi band and had vendors serving authentic Mexican food.
After the parade wrapped up, many gathered for a fiesta of more food and dancing.
Zertuche hopes next year people of all cultures will come out to celebrate Mexico.
“I want to get everybody involved, not only our community, but other people too,” he says.