Pasadena’s Black History Month parade remains postponed, so 60 locals gathered at Perry’s Joint on Tuesday to enjoy coffee, croissants and good company while discussing the past, present and the future of a community that has helped shape a country.
The city’s Black History Month parade was weeks away from being canceled in January. Usually held on the third Saturday of February, the parade and festival last took place on February 15, 2020.
Officials intend to continue with an entire month of free, family-friendly virtual and outdoor events that will recognize the significance of Black History Month, but local community members have found a way to organize their own “intimate and meaningful” celebration in light of the cancellation of this year’s parade.
Baseball Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson, anti-police brutality activist Michael Zinzun, and Loretta Thompson-Glickman, the city’s first African-American mayor, are some of the personalities who came to mind. during the social coffee. But the morning get-together also allowed locals, young and old, to recognize other well-known people throughout the city.
“Today kicks off Black History Month, we unite with the community, inspire, support a local black business by being a Perry’s,” said organizer Christy Zamani in an interview after the event. “It’s a perfect day.”
Those who took the mic on Tuesday shared similar sentiments as they spoke about topics including police brutality, gentrification and the latest generation of community leaders.
“We have people in the community, young people in this community, who could pick up the torch and go,” said Martin Gordon, president of the Pasadena Community Coalition.
He advised all “old hats” to understand that the world has changed. “And that young people have a better idea of how to move us forward than you do,” Gordon said. “You have to help shape this. You have to lead from behind and help them not make the same mistakes.
Zamani concluded Tuesday’s gathering by thanking community elders for “reminding us of what they did, how we got here and what we need to do now to pick up the torch and keep moving forward.”
And for those who want to organize their own similar spaces this Black History Month or in the future, she advised you to “just do it.”
Noting that Tuesday’s social came to fruition a week after she came up with the idea, Zamani said the past two years of the pandemic have disconnected everyone.
“So we don’t have times like this to hug and say hello, and I miss you, and that’s a great idea — let’s do it,” she said. “So that’s what today was – a small, intimate space perfect for being together again.”