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Lack of funds threatens Cape Verdean Parade

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    By Joao Ferreira Standard-Times staff writer April 26, 2008 11:40 PM NEW BEDFORD — The city s Cape Verdean parade could be canceled for the first time in its
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 30, 2008
      By Joao Ferreira
      Standard-Times staff writer
      April 26, 2008 11:40 PM
      NEW BEDFORD — The city's Cape Verdean parade could be canceled for
      the first time in its 36-year history this summer due to financial
      difficulties.
      Months before the July 5 parade, organizers said they have raised
      little money, and the cancellation of a recent fundraiser didn't help
      matters.
      "Yes, the parade is in financial difficulties," said Edward Rogers,
      president of the Cape Verdean Recognition Parade Committee, a
      nonprofit organization. "To put on a parade, we need to raise X
      amount of dollars. We're not even 25 percent of the way there. As it
      stands right now, the money is finicky. It's pathetic."
      The event's budget is about $20,000, Mr. Rogers said.
      The large parade attracts Cape Verdeans from all over the country
      during a weekend buzzing with activity in the city, including Fourth
      of July celebrations and the Summerfest festival.
      The event marks Cape Verde Independence Day, which is celebrated on
      July 5. The 10-island West African archipelago attained independence
      from Portugal in 1975.
      Parade organizers will meet May 30 to decide whether to downsize or
      cancel the event. The meeting happens after a fundraising event
      planned for May 17.
      "If we have to scale it down, we'll scale it down," Mr. Rogers said.
      Mr. Rogers said the committee would need to raise at least $5,000 at
      that event and another $5,000 at an event planned for June 14, as
      well as another $5,000 in private donations, to be able to run the
      parade.
      A clam boil planned for April 19 was canceled due to the high price
      of clams, Mr. Rogers said.
      So far, organizers have only collected $1,600 from private donors.
      Last year they had collected $3,800 by this time, Mr. Rogers said.
      Trying to boost their numbers, organizers just a few weeks ago mailed
      more than 100 letters to individuals and businesses asking for help.
      The response has been mute.
      "Our donations to the parade this year have dropped drastically, by
      at least two-thirds," Mr. Rogers said. "People don't have the money,
      the disposable income they had."
      News that the traditional event could be canceled this year is
      reverberating in the Cape Verdean community.
      "I will do everything as an elected official here in the city to see
      if we can do anything to save this event," City Councilor Brian Gomes
      said. "I will work diligently with everyone involved to see if we can
      raise that money."
      Mr. Gomes described the parade as an integral part of the community.
      "This is something everyone looks forward to," he said. "This is one
      of the biggest parades that we have in the city. It will take 2½
      hours for this whole parade to go by."
      Cape Verdean community activist John "Buddy" Andrade called for city
      government to help with the event.
      "The city has to step up; the city has to be the leader," he
      said. "If this parade is canceled, this will be a black eye to the
      city of New Bedford. This has always been a city parade."
      Mr. Andrade also called on residents to get involved.
      "All residents should also come out with $1 or $2 and donate to the
      Cape Verdean parade committee," he said. "Support this very valuable
      cultural experience."
      For organizers, something has to happen soon.
      "Hopefully, the word is going to get out and, hopefully, the money is
      going to get up," Mr. Rogers said.

      FOR MORE INFORMATION ON
      "HOW YOU CAN HELP" OR FOR THE ADDRESS TO SEND YOUR DONATIONS PLEASE
      CONTACT :
      Joao Ferreira at jferreira@...
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