Community leaders and residents come out to support Whitehaven’s holiday parade

Published: Nov. 19, 2022 at 5:00 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Whitehaven community leaders, residents and those living close by are celebrating the place they call home.

Organizers kicked off “I Love Whitehaven” week on Thursday and Saturday, hundreds came out for the annual holiday parade.

“I’m here to eat some candy, enjoy the parade,  support Whitehaven High School,  and just eat some candy,” 9-year-old Samuel Gardner said.

From the sound of the marching band’s drums to spirited cheers from cheer and dance teams, the Whitehaven Christmas Parade ... left many people feeling excited to see their community.

“This is exciting,” Anthony Branch, President of the Alpha Delta Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. said. We haven’t been like this in a while, so it’s exciting to see people out, see people celebrating and all the young kids just ... being active together celebrating this time of year.”

Kids came for the candy, and to support friends walking in the parade.

For many of the adults, this year’s parade was like a reunion after a two-year pandemic pause.

Stan Burton, who was there representing the Alpha Delta Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., has been attending for the past 10 years.

“It means a lot,” economically, socially, you name it -- it means a lot,” Burton said.

The “I Love Whitehaven” Neighborhood and Business Association started its celebrations Thursday.

Several events are being held that are expected to boost the community’s economy, but the parade was all about lifting spirits and coming together.

“It means everything, COVID stopped a lot of fun for our kids and we’re just glad to be back and show an example of how Memphis does it for Christmas and we enjoy every minute of it,” LaTonya Williams said.

Latonya Williams leads the East Memphis Trend Setters, a local dance team.

She says, the parade offered her girls an opportunity to build confidence.

“It is very important to be a positive aspect on our youth,” Williams said. " It’s so much going on, it’s so much negativity that’s spoke about them, but this is a great way to show that we can come together and do something positive as a community and for the youth.”

Williams, and so many others said they hope people continue to support the Whitehaven community, for years to come.

“It is cold, but it’s worth it, Branch said. “It’s worth every minute of it.”

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