Parade-goers huddled under umbrellas as they watched the UMOS Mexican Independence Day Parade wind its way through the South Side to celebrate Mexico’s independence from Spain in 1810.
The procession led to a festival featuring mariachi music, food, carnival rides and other activities at UMOS, 2701 S. Chase Ave. This year’s honorary parade marshal was George F. Banda, who earned a Purple Heart and a Silver Star of Gallantry, among other commendations, for his service in Vietnam.
Thousands participated in the celebration, and many visited community resource booths offering information ranging from HIV prevention, to domestic violence awareness to tobacco prevention.
Tina Rivera, manager of the Wisconsin Hispanic Tobacco Prevention Network at UMOS, said she was there to help educate festival attendees.
“Not smoking saves lives and saves money,” Rivera said, adding that Hispanic youth, as well as other minority groups, are targeted by tobacco companies.
UMOS has been serving Milwaukee and surrounding communities since 1965, when it began providing childcare services to primarily Hispanic migrant families during summer months.
Currently, more than 152,000 Hispanics live in the Milwaukee metro area, according to a recent press release from the Pew Hispanic Center. Twenty-seven percent are foreign-born and Mexicans comprise 62 percent of the Hispanic population.