James Johnson, Campus Magnet Alumni and community organizer, and Joann Linning, Andrew Jackson Alumni earlier this month hosted the Fourth Annual “We Can Because We Know We Can Community Parade.”
The parade is a continuation of the late Assemblywoman Barbara Clark’s legacy. The aim is to positively showcase and raise awareness of the local businesses, youth organizations, and District 29 local schools to increase enrollment within the Southeast Queens community.
Clarke, who died in 2016, represented Bellerose, Cambria Heights, Hollis and St. Albans in Albany for over three decades.
The highly anticipated event attracted elected officials Congressman Gregory Meeks, Councilman Donavon Richards, and Councilman I. Daneek Miller along with 1,200 others who participated in its tradition known to strengthen the community’s patronage, participation, and engagement during Campus Magnet Educational Complex’s Homecoming in Cambria Heights.
The parade was introduced to Andrew Jackson High School in the early ‘80s by Clark when her children attended the school. It then was recreated in 2007 when Joann Linning decided to continue the legacy. After receiving his Bachelor’s degree, James Johnson, Joann’s son, returned in 2016 to support his mother and the community to keep the tradition alive.
The Grand Marshals of the parade were Shiggy, Entertainer and Campus Magnet alumni of Humanities and Arts, Debra Hammond, owner of In The Chair Salon and Barbershop, and Thomas Butch Clark, Retired NYC Transit employee, Former Football Player, and Marching Band Member of Andrew Jackson.
The community parade was a collective partnership among political figures, Andrew Jackson and Campus Magnet Alumni, local businesses and schools located in Southeast Queens. Elected officials proudly support the parade and believe it is an undeniable movement.
“It’s always important that we continue to show our youth and community how and why we can come together. It’s a celebration when one voice can be heard and that voice is for growth and change,” said Debra Hammond. “I believe this is what the parade is all about and why I support it.”
“The Andrew Jackson High School parade brought my mother great joy and pride. It was a day to celebrate children and families as good neighbors,” said Thomas Butch Clark (Assemblywoman Barbara Clark’s son). “It has been a building block of this community and it’s great to see it hasn’t died.”
The supporters and sponsors for the parade are Nu Omicron Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., James Johnson, Joann Linning, Agape Bethel Community Development Corporation, Andrew jackson Alumnus, Royal Waste Services Inc., PTG365 LLC., Pa-Nash EurolSoul, Tracy & Malik Bus Co., and Resorts World Casino.
Immediately following the parade, attendees continued to celebrate by supporting the Campus Magnet Bulldogs Varsity Football team’s homecoming game.
Johnson is a leading community organizer who raises awareness and the importance of millennial participation, community engagement, and social change in Southeast Queens. Johnson is a civil rights advocate and rising politico with a wealth of knowledge and experience working with youth.
For more information on the Fourth Annual, We Can Because We Know We Can Community Parade, please contact James Johnson.