The legacy of the late Assemblywoman Barbara M. Clark (D-Queens Village) will continue on through a fourth annual We Can Because We Know We Can Community Parade on Oct. 19 in Cambria Heights through the efforts of mother and son duo Joann Linning and James Johnson.
Linning and Johnson are both alumni of Campus Magnet Educational Complex, formerly Andrew Jackson High School, in Cambria Heights where the homecoming parade will start and is expected to attract 1,000 attendees.
The purpose of the parade is to shine a positive spotlight on the local businesses, youth organizations and schools in the southeast Queens community, according to Johnson. The event will start at 10:30 a.m. and conclude at noon at Campus Magnet, which is located at 207-01 116th Ave. between Francis Lewis Blvd. and 208th St. The lineup for the parade is 10 a.m.
“She was a relentless advocate for our community in Albany and brought funding and resources to our local schools,” said Johnson. “It’s because of her that so many young people were able to attend their neighborhood school and parents felt comfortable knowing that their kids were being prepared for success.”
Linning shared the same sentiments.
“Barbara Clark was like a second mother in school,” said Linning. “She provided a safe and fun outlet for the students through homecoming. We were taught about community, giving back and the importance of education.”
The parade is also to show pride in southeast Queens, a section of the borough that is sometimes disregarded.
“Homecoming was a day that we shared our school pride with our community and local business,” said Linning. “This legacy is important because in the day of social media we need to make sure that we stay engaged with each other so the community will continue to grow. Knowledge is power.”
The homecoming parade tradition is to strengthen the community’s patronage, participation and engagement at Campus Magnet and the local community and will feature entertainer and “In My Feelings” dance craze viral sensation Shiggy, another alumni, Debra Hammond, the owner of In The Chair Salon and Barbershop and Thomas Butch Clark, a city transit retiree and former marching member and football player at the school as grand marshals.
Clark is also the son of the former assemblywoman.
“It’s always important that we continue to show our youth and community how and why we can come together,” said Hammond. “It’s a celebration when one voice can be heard and that voice is for growth and change. I believe this is what the parade is all about and why I support it.”
Immediately after the parade is a homecoming game for the Campus Magnet Varsity Football team.