By Naeisha Rose
People came out in droves to walk, step and dance in celebration of the second annual community parade in southeast Queens, which started at Andrew Jackson High School on 116th Avenue in Cambria Heights and proceeded down Linden Boulevard across Francis Lewis Boulevard.
City Councilman I. Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans) served as the grand marshal of the event, which included alumni of Andrew Jackson, the school’s football team, step teams, cheerleaders, scouts, and a Little League football team.
Providing music at the front of the parade was a marching band and at the back was a disc jockey playing old school hip-hop and current hits like “Wild Thoughts” by DJ Khaled featuring Rihanna.
“We are a community that is engaged and a lot of positive things are happening in here,” Miller said.
He said the purpose of the parade was to highlight the different community organizations at the event, like the Springfield Rifles Little League football team and the Riflettes cheer team, which have been mentors for kids in Springfield Gardens, Queens Village, St. Albans, Hollis, Laurelton and Jamaica.
Ralph Anderson has been a coach for Rifles for eight years and holds practice sessions with the football team at Roy Wilkins Park in St. Albans.
“This year makes 50 years for the team,” said the coach from Jamaica. “The cheerleaders and the players, we all come together as a community.”
Anderson said he is often seen as an additional parental figure for the kids and that the program helps to keep the children busy and from getting into trouble on the streets.
Tyler Cousins, the 13th member of Troop 263 to become an Eagle Scout, carried the group’s flag during along the parade route.
Janae Miller, 10, step-dancedall along the parade route.
“Parades send a message,” Miller said. “Keep on going, see the bright side of things.”
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose