Matthew Kaplan Photography

Southeast Chicago Mexican Independence Day Parade - September 17th, 2021

The Southeast Side’s Mexican Independence Day parade on Friday evening, organized by Bridges//Puentes Justice Collective of the Southeast, expressed community solidarity through poetry and dance, motorcycles, cars, and flags, evoking joyous shouts of “viva Mexico!” from paraders and bystanders along the way.

Mustering in a parking lot at 102nd Street, the celebration rumbled into the dusk down Ewing Avenue, rode through Calumet Park, crossed the Calumet River at 95th street, and ended up at Cocula Restaurant on Commercial Avenue, to celebrate the evening with music and food.

Chicago’s Southeast side boasts the oldest Mexican-American community in the city, drawn here, like many so folks, by jobs in the nearby steel mills, once the prominent feature of this industrial neighborhood. Chicago’s steel mills are now gone, but pride in heritage, and love of community, remain.

Before her beautiful performance, dancer Abril Garcia, a student at nearby George Washington High School, spoke of the need for “black and brown solidarity”, quoting Black Panther Bobby Seale, and led the group in a chant of “Separate we are strong. Together we are powerful!”.

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