"Puerto Ricans are American citizens, we especially need to be there for them in their time of need", Pou told TAPinto Paterson continuing to say that there are still 100,000 people without electricity and 55,000 living in temporary shelters.
There was also a powerful current of anger, frustration and mourning, manifested most often in blacked-out Puerto Rican flags and signs bearing the number 4,645, a recent estimated death toll on the island (up from the Puerto Rican government's initial count of 64) from Hurricane Maria.
It was with these facts at the forefront that thousands of union workers, environmentalists, civil rights advocates, and ordinary Americans took to Fifth Avenue Sunday afternoon for the annual event.
Ahead of the Puerto Rican Day Parade on Sunday, Cynthia Nixon called for the state to divest from funds managed by firms that hold Puerto Rican debt. "We must show the people of Puerto Rico we are their ally, and divest NY state pension funds from any Puerto Rican debt holdings, now". "We are Americans, and I think that I came to represent the fact that no one wants to admit that nearly 5,000 lives were lost in Hurricane Maria", Ortiz, 53, of Brooklyn, said. They also waved flags in the direction of the luxury high-rise.
Some demonstrators chanted "Respect Puerto Rico" as the parade passed Trump Tower.
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"This is a very important parade and a very meaningful parade given the tragedy and the devastation of the homeland", Louis Maldonado said on Friday prior to Sunday's big parade.
The organizers say the marching contingents will include one made up of Puerto Ricans who are in the USA mainland only because they were displaced from their homes on the island.
'Maria unmasked that we are a colony, ' said Pabon, 66, of the Bronx.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Manhattan City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson were among the dignitaries on hand for the event. That includes permanent extensions of emergency relief for families displaced by Hurricane Maria; equitable fiscal policies that will jumpstart Puerto Rico's economy; and finally, a rebuilding process grounded in democracy, inclusive of local communities, and focused on the critical needs of impacted communities now two weeks into a new hurricane season.
The administration was roundly criticized for its performance after Maria struck, and hundreds of thousands in the USA territory remain without electricity.