González talks in more depth about the San Juan Bautista Parade as a consciously constructed civic activity with the aim to unite the city of Camden and bolster civic pride. The parade committee intentionally expanded festivities beyond the Puerto Rican and Latino community to incorporate all sectors of the Camden community and to create a civic activity. All residents, regardless of heritage, are encouraged to participate not only as spectators but also as performers. Camden's majority population is African-American. Many exclusively or predominately African-American organizations take part, such as the Camden Sophisticated Sisters (CSS) Drill Team and the Camden High School Marching Band, the Mighty Marching Panthers. The aim is a celebration of Camden in all its parts. A venue of affirmative multi-cultural representations, the parade bolsters pride in the city and among its residents. Focusing on the positive, González says, beneficially impacts young people's development. González says it's easy to talk bad about Camden. It's more difficult--and more important--to emphasize the positive. In the second part, González talks about the positive effects that come out of the San Juan Bautista Parade and their impact on daily social life in Camden. He witnesses a minimization of an ethnic divide such as was common, he points out, in the 1950's and 1960's. González notices that sharing community and sharing cultures through the parade festivities has produced more tolerance and acceptance of cultural differences outside the parade. It also sparks individual interest in one another and promotes continued cultural sharing.
Interview Location: Camden, NJ