Wear "summer colors" today. That’s the palate-of-choice for the 116th annual Annie Malone May Day parade.
The May Day parade is the largest annual parade in the City of St. Louis — and one of the largest African American parades in the entire country.
The most obvious beneficiaries of the parade and its surrounding festivities are the many clients of the Annie Malone Children and Family Services Center. This year’s parade theme — Working to Protect the Lives of Children and Families — has a special urgency. And with sharp funding cuts being made at the state level, local providers like Annie Malone sorely need the money the parade raises from major corporate and institutional sponsors.
But, all the rest of us benefit, too.
For another weekend, our City celebrates the diversity that is its true strength. Television and radio stations will beam our neighbors’ pride of place and parentage throughout the region.
The May Day Parade will step off at 1 p.m. today, beginning at Union Boulevard and Natural Bridge Road and ending at Fairgrounds Park. There will be 100,000 people along the route.
We need to do much more of this.
Special Note: Annie Malone’s CEO, Jean Patterson Neal, will be retiring after today’s parade. The work Jean Neal has done over the years has been remarkable. Her efforts to addess the needs of children and youth, as well as to preserve The Ville neighborhood, have been important elements as we continue to revive neighborhoods in north St. Louis.