Rose Bowl Parade Honors Latina Grand Marshals Rita Moreno, Laurie Hernandez and Gina Torres
Pasadena’s Annual Rose Bowl kicked off 2020 with three generations of Latinas as Grand Marshals, signaling city-wide solidarity with Latina-American’s cultural and athletic contributions to the United States’ history. Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Peabody and Tony award-winner Rita Moreno was joined by Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez and actress Gina Torres as the parade’s grand marshals, much to the excitement of all Latinos who tuned in for the annually-presented programming. Luis Recalde, an Argentine-American living in Huntington Park, told The Los Angeles Times that, in hindsight, every parade he’s attended over the last six years were “very commercial,” but that the Latino representation this year helped those minorities who “want to feel near their country.”
For the women who got to participate in the coin toss and wave at throngs of Angelinos of all races, cultures, and walks of life, the opportunity was just as thrilling.
There is a reason so much diversity was palpably felt this year compared to last. For the first time ever, a Latina was elected president of the Tournament of Roses Association. Laura Farber is the Argentine immigrant who oversaw the entire parade production meant to mark the beginning of a new year and offer hope to the Angeles community. With a Latina in leadership, we finally got to see Latinas honored at the highest level the Tournament of Roses Association offers: Grand Marshals.
Gina Torres took to social media to comment on the grandiosity of the moment. “Rolling into 2020 as a Grand Marshal,” she wrote in an Instagram post. “Let’s break that down, shall we? Grand: 1)Impressive in size, appearance or general effect 2) stately, dignified majestic ✨Marshal: A military officer of the highest rank ???????? Oh! So like, The HBIC of everyone’s dreams???? Let’s do this. I’m ready. Are you?” Torres is the Afro-Cuban-American who has taken over USA Network as the starring actress in “Suits” and “Pearson.” When she’s not winning National Hispanic Media Coalition Awards, she’s giving back to Dress for Success and Planned Parenthood.
Meanwhile, Rita Moreno actually practiced her coin toss before the nationally-televised event.
“My family and I were astounded at how beautifully your entire organization, from the President to the hundreds of devoted volunteers, handled what could have been a logistical nightmare in less capable hands,” Moreno shared on Instagram. “We deeply appreciated all you did to make the day an outstanding experience for all involved! Bravo????❤️????,” she added after half a dozen posts commemorating the event.
Of course, Moreno can entertain us all even with a simple coin toss.
At 88-years-old, many folks saw that Rita Moreno was trending on Twitter and braced themselves for the worst news. Much to our delight, Rita Moreno is thriving, offering a flourishing dramatic coin toss complete with karate chops on nationally-televised programming in front of tens of thousands of people because, well, she can. Moreno has long been marching for social justice issues ranging from civil rights, education, and jobs. Her contributions to the Latino community go without saying.
Laurie Hernandez called the entire experience “insane.”
“One of the best New Years ever,” the Olympic gold-medalist wrote on social media. “Co-grand Marshall at the Rose Parade??? insane. if you would’ve told me this was happening when i was younger, i wouldn’t have believed you????.” Hernandez, also a Puerto Rican like Moreno, was the youngest of the generations represented, but certainly as accomplished. Hernandez is the first U.S. born Latina to make the U.S. Olympic Women’s Gymnastics Team since 1984 and has earned our country gold and silver medals during the 2016 Olympics. Since then, she’s gone on to win ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars,” authored two books, including a feminist children’s book, and spends her spare time combating bullying with national non-profits.
That’s not all. The crowd roared when Los Lobos started playing “La Bamba” from a parade float.
It’s clear that the Grand Marshal choices were not a singular token effort to reflect the culture of Los Angeles. Other honored guests included first Latina astronaut Ellen Ochoa, “Sesame Street” voice Sonia Manzano, and Spanish-language Dodgers announcer Jaime Jarrín. Puerto Rican, Mexican, Salvadoran, and Costa Rican flags waved as their respective marching bands performed in salute to the vibrant cultures weaved into American society.
“An all Latina Rose Parade grand Marshall, Latina President, bands from El Salvador, Costa Rica, Mexico, & Los Lobos closing out the show?!!?!! This is an awesome way to start 2020! #RoseParade,” tweeted one fan, who frankly speaks for us all.