Wednesday, October 14, 2015


Anybody who knows me well, knows that I have a fine appreciation for "High Twinkle Factor" (HTF).  They also know that on a day-to-day I live in the world of "high comfort factor"(hcf).  Elastic is a godsend.  Cotton is cool.  Birkenstocks were made for folks with feet who work for a living.  If you are on your feet all day long, you just need the support; forget fashion.

So it is an exceptional day when I dress in HTF.  But I've been instructed to do so by my friend, and mentor, Dan Guerrero.   He is throwing himself a roast, at a theater downtown Los Angeles, in honor of his 75th birthday.  Because he is producing, the event will be fabulous!  I don't know who all will be there, but a partial listing includes Dolores Huerta, Culture Clash, and Joe Hernandez-Kolski.

The invitation carried instructions to "dress to impress", so my version of HTF will be in evidence starting at my shoes.  I think Larry may be hoping that I remember to wear dark hose.  Bare legged won't do.

Dan was the last person I asked to be Honorary Grand Marshal for the Latino Heritage parade & jamaica.  I wanted him to be in the parade because it would offer a nice closing to my tenure as lead coordinator for the event.  I wrote about Dan last year.  

The City of Los Angeles proclaimed today Dan Guerrero Day.  
Not shabby when a city celebrates your b'day.
Photo - Debra J.T. Padilla

On this day I also want to begin to write a bit of history of the Latino Heritage parade & jamaica.  There had been an effort sometime in the early 90s to have a Latino Parade in Pasadena.  I don't know  exactly when it took place, but I believe it was some time after the Black History Parade was established.  It took place near City Hall and not sure how many times it took place.

After seeing the Irish Parade in Pasadena in 1998 I came up with the idea of Latino History parade.  Luckily there was a group of us working at sharing Latino heritage and history in the area.  We became a committee and folks with last names like Morgan, Sorcini, Almanza, Bruce, Grimes, Guerrero, Pico, Isenberg, Ruiz and so many more became the group that worked together to bring Latino culture and history in our first parade.  Our efforts were built on the work of the Pasadena Mexican American History Association - elders who had lived in the area and who shared their experiences and knowledge of history with us.

The Parade Committee had scrapes with some City staff.  They wanted us to have the parade on a narrow street, or "perhaps we could go around the block of Washington Park"?  To say we were not solidly embraced is an understatement.  

Other City staff could not have been more helpful.  Christine Harris, who was the City staff person in charge of the Black History Parade is the first person that come to mind.  Not only did she graciously spend time with us, she also shared a copy of the budget that the city had dedicated to the BHP.  We could not have asked for more, but perhaps we should have

Pasadena Christian School provided our staging area.  We were brand new but they treated us with great respect and could not have been more welcoming.  

The parade was set to take place win April of 1999.  We were bold and asked the Chicano icon Lalo Guerrero to be our Grand Marshal.  To our amazement he agreed.  Raul R. Rodriguez also agreed to be in our first parade.  We were amazed at that, too. 

As the fates would have it there was a huge rainstorm forecast set to take place on parade date.  It was at 9 in the morning that I made call to not have the parade.  Class acts that they were Lalo and Raul still came to the area and were ready to greet those who didn't get the message the event was cancelled.  

I'm not sure what exactly was taking place when this picture was taken, but it is an image I treasure.   

Photo - Almanza Photography
In it are my dear buddies from KPAS - Kevin and Joe - and Lalo is offering solid support for us in a time when he could have easily been put out for having made the trip and then having nothing to show for it.

But he knew that event was about so much more.  

Just as I know that tonight will be about Dan, and will include a high dose of HTF, but the event will be about so much more.  

Dan has been a groundbreaker, a mentor, a role model, and a warrior.  We'll all have a good time and the pride will be so deep and strong that it will be almost palpable.

Here's to Dan Guerrero and his 75 years!


  1. I don't know how Pasadena got so fortunate as to have you, but one reason I'm glad I'm here is that you're here.