South Orange Avenue was awash in green and white. Marchers holding balloons, carrying banners and donning “NCC” t-shirts paraded down the street in Newark to celebrate New Community’s 2016 Parade and Family Festival on Sept. 17, 2016.
“Out of the Ashes Came Hope” was the theme of this year’s parade, which also paid tribute to Newark’s 350th anniversary as one of many city-wide events organized in coordination with Newark Celebration 350.
“A key part of the city’s history is the vital role that community development corporations have played in strengthening our neighborhoods,” New Community CEO Richard Rohrman said. “New Community is proud of our legacy of serving residents for nearly five decades as part of our mission to help individuals achieve self-sufficiency.”
New Community’s festivities highlighted NCC’s legacy since 1968—as an organization birthed out of the 1967 civil unrest—as part of the city’s history. Since then, New Community has championed its mission to help residents of inner cities improve the quality of their lives to reflect individual God-given dignity and personal achievement.
The parade route crossed in front of New Community Extended Care Center, where nursing home residents and staff lined the sidewalk. Four floats featuring NCC departments such as Property Management, Health and Social Services, Family Resource Success Center and the early learning centers passed by as onlookers cheered.
Marilyn Watson, a resident of New Community Associates, rode atop a float as queen of the parade and was seated next to the king, Johnny Killebrew of New Community Gardens Senior.
“The whole parade was nice. I enjoyed coming down South Orange Avenue,” said Watson, who was followed by acts such as Harlem Samba, cowboys on horseback and the Weequahic High School marching band and dancers. New Community security officers led the parade.
Killebrew said that the parade was “quite exciting.”
“I enjoyed the whole bit,” he said, adding that the longer parade route was a big plus.
The end of the parade route, however, was just the beginning of the street festival, which lasted the entire afternoon. Located next to New Community Commons Senior at 140 South Orange Ave. in Newark, the festival area was filled with agencies, such as La Casa de Don Pedro and Covenant House, that offered educational resources to the community. Vendors also sold food and refreshments. Residents and staff also enjoyed a peaceful space at the beer garden inside Meditation Park.
The Youth Zone buzzed with activity as children climbed the rock wall, competed at the video game truck, braved the gyroscope, rode on horseback and played on the inflatable slides and bouncy house. Children also received free hotdogs, balloon animals and face painting.