‘It’s like a big family reunion.’ Festive Como Day parade brings neighbors together.

Miss Juneteenth Precious Maku waves at the crowd during the Como Day Parade on Monday, July 5, 2021, in Fort Worth.
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The Como Day Parade on Monday brought together families and friends, local business, community leaders, a fleet of cool cars and lots of candy to the neighborhood.

The event, which is celebrating its 70th year, is intended to give residents of the historically Black neighborhood the opportunity to celebrate Independence Day and freedom on their own terms. Roy Brooks, Tarrant County Commissioner for Precinct 1, said Independence Day and the Como parade are linked to the celebrations of Juneteenth.

“Opal Lee, the grandmother of Juneteenth, told us that we’re supposed to celebrate and be in recognition of freedom from Juneteenth all the way to the 4th of July,” he said. “That’s what this community has done.”

This is the first Como parade to follow ComoFest, a family-friendly event held on Saturday intended to bring together residents of different generations to celebrate and bring about neighborhood pride.

There were some concern by community members about whether the parade would still happen following an early Sunday morning shooting near the ComoFest location that left eight people injured.

The shooting occurred after several men began an argument in the 3400 block of Horne Street, less than a mile from ComoFest, at about 1:30 a.m. One of the men started shooting into the group and multiple people returned fire.

Fort Worth police said eight people were wounded, most of whom were innocent bystanders.

Although the shooting occurred well after the ComoFest event ended, neighbors wondered if the parade would be affected, or if it would include a large police presence.

Residents at the parade said the shooting was not related to ComoFest and that they believe the people involved weren’t members of the neighborhood.

Mayor Mattie Parker attended the parade Monday, and said that events like the shooting do not represent Como, but events like the parade do.

“This community deserves to have their Fourth of July parade,” she said. “So I’m actually happy that we’re having this parade, after the horrific events that happened this weekend, to celebrate family, faith and community and the history of Como.”

The event featured speeches from city council members, Police Chief Neil Noakes and a number of local community leaders.

The parade started about 10 a.m. with businesses, local organizations and car clubs — driving classic restored vehicles and customized Corvettes — throwing candy to attendees, saying hello to old friends and playing music.

Como resident Henry Green said the importance of the event was felt when it was canceled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and he’s glad to see different age groups of Como neighbors taking pride in their community.

“It’s very important to bring everybody together,” he said. “And right now we have such a generation gap that young people don’t relate a lot to older people, but this brings everybody together.”

Resident Inez Dorsey said the celebration is like a homecoming and is excited about who she may end up running into.

“You see friends that you grew up with that you haven’t seen in years,” she said. “It’s like a big family reunion.”