The skies were blue and the air was crisp Saturday morning at 72nd Street and Woodland Avenue as the Rev. Paul “Earthquake” Moore, an activist based in Southwest Philly, rallied the neighborhood via live stream to come out and participate in the Southwest Pride Day parade and street festival.
Only a handful of people stood scattered around the parking lot, but as the parade moved down Woodland Avenue toward 65th Street, residents were emerging from their houses and storefronts (surely attracted by the sounds of the Mass Konfusion drill team).
By the time the parade reached 65th, hundreds of people were arriving to celebrate on the cordoned-off street.
Southwest Pride Day is a parade and street festival held for nothing more than to celebrate the neighborhood and the people of Southwest Philly. The Southwest Community Development Corporation and the 12th Police District started the festival 23 years ago.
Flags of various African and Caribbean nations hang from the telephone poles along Woodland Avenue, a testament to the diversity of the neighborhood. African restaurants, grocery stores, and clothing boutiques appear every few storefronts. There are churches and mosques.
As evident on Southwest Pride Day, there are families from different parts of the world and from right here in Philadelphia. For those who’ve lived in the city for generations, there now hangs an American flag along with all the others, too.
From the captain of the local volunteer-run bike patrol, to the founder of a local charter school, to the women leading a drill team made up of children and teens, everyone present spoke with pride about Southwest Philly.
Reverend Moore explained the motivation behind all the work put into Southwest Pride Day: “Instead of all the bad news, we want to show some good news.”