CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago’s Mexican American community turned out by the thousands today, to celebrate Mexican Independence Day.
The parade started with both the American and Mexican national anthems, fitting for a a community of families hoping to provide their children with the opportunities of life in the U.S. while maintaining the culture of home.
Jackie Gatti was born in the U.S. and watched her sister and nephew on the United Airlines float.
“It’s important not to forget where you come from,” said Gatti.
Food vendor David Alves of Del Campos Tacos says he thinks the parade gives Mexican Americans a little piece of home — where today is celebrated much like our own fourth of July.
“They close all of the government buildings, schools are closed, people are out marching and being proud that they are Mexican. The same thing here with the Fourth of July. Me having two cultures being Mexican and I have a little bit of both worlds so it is great, really great,” said Alves.
Alves hoped to provide parade-watchers with a taste of both Mexico and his current home, serving tacos, tortas and quesadillas alongside Polish sausage and Chicago-style hot dogs.
The Mexican Independence Day Parade in Chicago started in 1969. Today, Chicago is home to six percent of the country’s Mexican population.