New London – The city will celebrate Black History Month on Saturday with a parade down State Street.
The parade will begin at noon at the intersection of State and Huntington streets and end at Parade Plaza near the intersection of State and Bank streets. New London Police Chief Brian Wright is the Grand Marshal, and parade participants include the New London High School Marching Band, New London High School ROTC, members of the basketball and cheering teams from the Eastern Connecticut high school conference.
Everyone is welcome, said organizer Debbie Phillips.
Students at New London Public School who bring a poster or sign with an African American person they admire will be encouraged to walk.
Phillips said she is lining up speakers and vendors, and if the weather is bad, the speech portion of the event may be moved to another location to be announced at the start of the parade.
Along with the parade, the Ledge Light Health District is offering a free COVID-19 vaccination clinic for people ages 12 and older inside nearby Union Station (the city’s train station). First and second shots and reminders will be available, and all that is required is some form of identification.
Phillips, active in many events and causes across the city, said the event started last year as a march along Colman Street and turned into a parade this year.
“I thought it was important to celebrate our heritage and our contributions to New London,” Phillips said. “It’s a national thing. During the month of February, there are Black History Month parades in other cities.”
She said the parade, now funded by donations, would become an annual event and the city would budget for it next year.
Phillips can be reached at [email protected]