On June 16, Orlando "El Fenomeno" Cruz, the first openly gay active professional boxer, served as "king" of the annual Puerto Rican People's Parade in Chicago.
This year's event not only honored the parade's founders but sought to bring attention to recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Maria. Other honorees at the event included Angel Arroyo, City Councilman of Lorain Ohio, Puerto Rican author/historian Angel Collado Schwarz, boxing legend Wilfredo Benitez and activist Oscar Lopez Rivera. The grand marshal of the parade was Josain Santiago, the mayor of Comerio, Puerto Rico.
Cruz, who will also serve as grand marshal of Chicago's Annual Pride Parade on June 24, rode the El Rescate float. El Rescate is a social-services agency aimed at helping youth experiencing homelessness, aiding with transitional housing, outreach, wellness and education.
This year, the parade's focus was titled "Rescue, Relief, Rebuild Puerto Rico," and was presented as part of The Puerto Rican Agenda of Chicago.
With more than 75 floats and contingents, the parade attractws an audience that numbers in the tens of thousands. This year's parade kicked off at the intersection of Western Avenue and Division Street, and headed west along Division into Humboldt Park.
The Puerto Rican Cultural Center presented the parade.