“We stand tall after all that we have endured,” the Rev. Edwin Perez Jr. was saying.
Onlookers bowed their heads in respect and nodded as Perez continued with his prayer.
“Even though we have faced hardship, we are still here united.”
The prayer took place during a flag raising ceremony at noon Thursday on the New Haven Green held to get out the word about the upcoming Puerto Rican Festival, which takes place on the Green this Saturday from 1-9 p.m.
The event is a chance for the Puerto Rican community, which has worked hard this past year to help resettle families fleeing the after-effects of Hurricane Maria, to celebrate Puerto Rico and its culture.
“Please come out to the festival,” urged Joseph Rodriguez, the president of Puerto Ricans United Inc., the main sponsoring organization. “Enjoy yourself. It will happen rain or shine!”
“The festival was started three years ago to protect nuestra cultura,” said Samary Polnett, another member on the board of Puerto Ricans United Inc. and the emcee of the ceremony, said. ‘
At the end of Thursday’s pre-festival announcement, which included remarks from Mayor Toni Harp and State Rep. Juan Candelaria, the Puerto Rican flag was raised. Maribel Aguilar, a member on the board of Puerto Ricans United, led the crowd in singing both the U.S. national anthem and the Puerto Rican anthem.
“La tierra Borinquen,” Aguilar sang as the Puerto Rican flag was raised, citing the land of Puerto Rico. “Donde he nacido yo” (where I was born).
Six live acts, including recording artist Oscar Serrano of Puerto Rico, will perform at Saturday’s festival, which will also feature food and arts & crafts.