CNY Parade Memoriesby Trent Hu
I can’t remember when the Chinese New Year Parade was not a part of my life. My first experience as a participant was with my sister, Adriene. We rode in a Ford Thunderbird convertible for some politician and had to smile and wave to the crowd. As I grew taller and my cuteness faded, I marched in masked costumes carrying banners and lunar animal lanterns. After I got my driver’s license, I had the opportunity to drive city dignitaries and parade floats. It was definitely more fun to drive the parade floats!
I remember my most embarrassing parade day experience like it was yesterday. I was sitting in the back of the room next to Rose Pak listening to my brother Wayne give his pre-parade pep rally speech to hundreds of volunteers that help make this event possible every year. Rose whispers to me “your brother is taking too long; we are already behind schedule.” I jokingly respond to Rose, “if you give him another five minutes, he will take 30.” Without skipping a beat Rose stands and yells across the room over hundreds of volunteers to Wayne, ” your brother says if we give you another 5 minutes you will take 30. The meeting is over. Everyone go to your assigned duties.”
Every time I see a foul-mouthed, bossy Asian woman with a heart of gold I think of Rose. Even though she threw me under the bus, I still miss her.
After working on the parade organization committee, I realized that it really takes a village to run a parade. There are thousands of dedicated volunteers and participants who give their blood, sweat, and tears year after year making the Chinese New Year Parade better and better. And for no pay! While I jokingly call the Chinese New Year Parade our family curse, I think it has made me a better person and it has benefited the Asian community in many ways.
In our country, there are thousands of communities and organizations that rely on volunteers to create enlightening and enriching experiences to make positive changes for our country. This is really what makes America wonderful.