Clifton Raises Ecuadorian Flag in Celebration of Independence With Community


Councilwoman Rosemary Pino. All photos by Alias Ragsdale.

A warm sense of cultural pride was undeniably present Sunday afternoon in front of City Hall. Dozens of people made up of all age groups gathered on the front lawn wearing their yellow, blue, and red attire to show support for Ecuador. Hispanic organizations from across the Passaic County vicinity organized the Ecuadorian flag-raising ceremony in honor of Ecuador's upcoming Independence Day on August 10.

The history of Ecuador’s independence is a story of multiple South American armies fighting against Spaniard rule for independence. The people and lands of modern-day Colombia and Venezuela, after gaining independence themselves, aided Ecuador in their fight against colonization. Leaders who were part of the mass multi-nation revolt against colonization included Simon Bolivar and Antonio Jose de Sucre who spearheaded gaining self-determination rights for their homelands. The real date of independence is August 10th. The Ecuadorian flag is made of the colors yellow, blue, and red and was adopted in 1860. The yellow represents the fertility of the land and gold deposits around the country. The blue strip symbolizes Ecuador’s beautiful coast, ocean resources, and constant blue skies. Finally, the red represents the blood of men who sacrificed their lives in the independence battles.

At Sunday’s event, Mayor Ray Grabowski along with Councilwoman Rosemary Pino delivered speeches addressing the crowd about the beauty of diversity. Councilwoman Pino, who is Ecuadorian herself, spoke with us and expressed her congratulations to the many South American countries that gained their independence during the summer months. Recently, Colombians and Peruvians also celebrated their independence with flag raisings. 

Alianza Ecuatoriana de Passaic, NJ (Ecuadorian Alliance of Passaic NJ) is one of the primary organizations for the Ecuadorian community in Passaic County and was present Sunday. Their President, Joffre H. Perez Acosta stressed the importance of staying together as a community. For 40 years, Alianza Ecuatoriana has strived to provide a uniting place for Ecuadorians. Other special attendees included City Manager Nick Villano, BOE Commissioner Richard Mejia, along with some candidates in our town and county’s upcoming election. County Commissioner Republican candidate Kelley Amico, BOE candidates Joseph Siano and Cameron Hebron were all in attendance. Republican County Commissioner hopeful, Kelley Amico, expressed her excitement for having the chance to be a part of the celebration of another culture. A representative from the office of Senator Bob Menendez addressed the crowd as well about how important communities like these are, and how much they mean to our nation in general.

This celebration included a very special traditional dance from a group called “San Jose de Newark.” A talented group of children and young adults wore vibrant traditional dress and danced to native Ecuadorian music. Onlookers were mesmerized by the performance and dedication that the dance must have taken. With cameras out and big smiles on their faces, some even began clapping with the rhythm of the music.

Celebrations like these are essential to such a diverse community as Clifton. The Clifton Times will continue to cover these events and share what’s going on around town!

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