Roxbury Unity Parade

Not Just A Place, It's A Vibe

"Roxbury is not just a place, it's a vibe," declared the Master of Ceremony of the Roxbury Unity Parade during his opening remarks. The annual event marked its fourth year as community organizers, local politicians, and residents of Boston's historically Black enclave traveled the one-mile parade route.

Toy Burton, the parade's founder and organizer, launched the celebrated event in the summer of 2018 at a time when Roxbury was battling a seemingly endless wave of violence. Boston, a collection of proud neighborhoods, has always been a city of parades. Many of the city's neighborhoods host annual marches along principal thoroughfares to embrace their communities but Roxbury had not been among them. But longtime Roxbury resident Toy Burton took note and was determined to change that.

Initially, it was no easy undertaking, however. There were certainly cynics both at City Hall as well as among some residents of Roxbury. Toy, however, was determined to bring a parade to Roxbury which would celebrate her beloved community's rich history, culture, pride, and endurance. Finally, despite the threat of rain on the scheduled date of the inaugural parade, Roxbury residents along with the city's former mayor, Marty Walsh, marched along Malcolm X Boulevard en route to a park also renamed for the slain civil rights icon.

On July 18th, the city's first Black mayor was among those who spoke at the parade's kick off. A daughter of Roxbury herself, Mayor Kim Janey spoke of the neighborhood's resilience and strength, noting that both Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X once called Roxbury home. Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, a close ally and supporter of the Roxbury Unity Parade, eloquently expressed the importance of embracing Roxbury's positive assets and recognizing the community's contributions both to the city as well as the world.

Following the powerful and applauded opening remarks from Mayor Janey and Congresswoman Pressley, awards were given out to beloved community leaders such as Cindy Diggs, Michael Bivins (of New Edition fame), and Byron Rushing. Then, much like the first parade's day, heavy clouds patiently waited for the parade's conclusion to unleash the forecasted rain showers.

"Toy Burton's dream has become our legacy," said Peace Boston founder Cindy Diggs. No truer words were ever said.

Read the complete coverage and see more photos in the upcoming issue of Entrigue Magazine (August/September 2021 Issue). Also Visit us on our social media to enjoy other photos.