New York, June 21 - The Regional Tibetan Women's Association of New York and New Jersey, Inc. (RTWA, NY & NJ) coordinated the 23rd Annual International Cultures Parade for the sixth consecutive year on June 21, 2008. The parade in large is organized and sponsored by the International Immigrants Foundation, a Non – Governmental Organization at the United Nations. Countries such as Bolivia, Morocco, Vietnam, Brazil, Egypt, Bangladesh, Romania, Albania, Haiti, Jamaica, Ecuador, Japan, Poland, Thailand, Sudan, Taiwan, Mexico and many more showcased their culture along with the Tibetans. The Tibetan faction, consisting of over 150 people, marched shoulder to shoulder with rest of the parade-goers from various countries.
The Tibetan contingent was led by two preschoolers carrying a plaque which read 'International Immigrants Foundation presents TIBET' alongside a Tibetan and an American flag. A huge Tibetan flag, carried by six Tibetans dressed in Cholka-Sum costumes, followed the plaque. Tibetan contingent had a special participant, grand marshal, Ven. Palden Gyatso, former political prisoner of Tibet. Ven. Palden Gyatso along with other venerable and RTWA, NY & NJ President followed the giant Tibetan flag. On a pick-up truck decorated with Tibetan flag and a large portrait of His Holiness the Dalai Lama stood several monks blowing Dhungchen, huge Tibetan religious trumpet. New York Tibetans took full participation and made the parade their own with young Tibetans from the Sunday Tibetan School dancing the auspicious opera dance, Tashi Sholpa, Gorhsey Kyidug and Kyirong Kyidug members dressed in their traditional clothes danced to the rhythm of dramyen, a Tibetan lute.
A parade float, adorned with Buddhist religious prayer-flags and a map of Tibet, showcased the serene nature of Tibet as popular Tibetan music played in the background. Young girls in Lhamo rei-nga costumes, a Yak and a male and female nomad added extra vigor needed for the parade float. Two members of RTWA, NY & NJ took turns in educating the spectators on important aspects of Tibetan identity and history over the microphone on the parade float. Following the float were members of the Tibetan community from New York and New Jersey dressed in traditional chupas carrying a Tibetan flag. Participants were swollen with pride walking down the Avenue of Americas.
A week prior to the parade, on June 15, 2008 , RTWA, NY & NJ organized a special Lhapsol in honor of the brave Tibetans inside Tibet who sacrificed and continue to suffer under the Chinese brutal occupation, and for those Tibetans and Chinese who suffered from May 12th earthquake.. The Tibetan community offered long life prayer for His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and success and accomplishment of His Holiness' noble wishes. The prayers were led by sixteen local Tibetan Buddhist monks.