Politicians used the West Indian Day Parade to reach out to their Brooklyn constituents in anticipation of the September 9th primaries, while other familiar faces also joined in the summer party.
Queens Councilman I. Daneek Miller was born and raised in Brooklyn, and said he has been a regular at the festival for the last 35 years.
“I love to see the West Indian culture come to the borough of Brooklyn,” Miller said. “The whole world gets to see the diversity of Brooklyn and what we have to offer to the world.”
Miller marched along the two-mile-long route with his fellow council members, just behind Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo who waved to onlookers.
Parade-goers attended with caution, as previous celebrations have been ridden with violent outbreaks. Two people were fatally stabbed at the parade last year and one was shot to death in 2011.
This year, it was reported that a 55-year-old man was shot to death near the parade route at 3:30 a.m.
Police also reported that a 22-year-old woman was shot in the ankle, while a 22-year-old man was shot in the leg. Both were brought to Kings County Hospital and are in stable condition.
Councilman Jumaane Williams said he hopes a more welcoming approach to the festival will ease tensions in the coming years.
“We want to do a better job with the whole community and embrace this, and I think things will go a lot smoother,” Williams said.
Williams was handcuffed and wrongfully detained after a confrontation with police at the parade in 2011, but said officers and parade organizers have continued to find a more efficient way to run the annual event.
“I’m happy this year that this weekend went a lot smoother than a lot of folks thought it would,” he said. “We just have to get bigger and better going forth.”