PASADENA - When the 27th Annual Black History Parade rolls down Fair Oaks Avenue on Saturday, there will be an extra feeling of celebration in the air, Grand Marshal Lena Kennedy said Thursday.
After all, she said, history has been made with the election of the country's first African-American President.
"I think there is a different feeling - the entire world is celebrating," said Kennedy, a political consultant who was a member of Obama's National Finance Committee and national chairwoman of the Women's Leadership Initiative.
"There will be a different energy and a true appreciation for the legacy of what has gone before us," she said. "We in Pasadena are coming together and celebrating black history, but
Kennedy, who organized four fundraisers in Pasadena, has said locals raised around $1 million for the Obama campaign.
The parade and festival will follow much the same pattern as in previous years, said Travis Emerson, community services director at Jackie Robinson Center.
"Our headline group at the festival will be Delphonics Revue, an R&B singing group," Emerson said. "In the parade, we have bands from Pasadena High School, Muir High School and Eliot Middle School, and a lot of community groups."
Celebrity guests include television produced Ken Whittingham and actor James Reynolds from "Days of Our Lives," Emerson said. The Wells Fargo stagecoach will be back, plus the John Muir Drumline. The festival will feature food, entertainment, vendors and information booths.
Joe Brown, president of the Pasadena NAACP, said there was a "lot of excitement" about this year's parade.
"People can see the reality now of linking our past to changes in the future," he said. "We in the African-American community can look forward to change, even in the participation of young people ... who see they can accomplish their goals if they stay on track."
Kennedy said she was thrilled to receive a hometown honor.
"It's nice to be recognized by the community you grew up in - these are people who really know me," she said.
Black History Month, honoring often overlooked people and events, still has a place outside the mainstream, Kennedy said.
"Just because we have an African American President does not mean all our problems have been solved," she said. "But it means we're moving in the right direction."
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