Three Trailblazing Latinas Named Grand Marshals at 2020 Rose Parade, Handpicked by Latina President

Tournament of Roses Moreno BELatina

Last week, the Tournament of Roses announced the grand marshals of 2020’s Rose Parade, a New Year’s Day tradition that takes place in Pasadena, California. If you’ve never tuned in to the Rose Parade before, this year is the year to do it. The legendary Rita Moreno, veteran actor Gina Torres, and Olympic gold medalist Laurie Hernandez will have the honor of leading the parade as its grand marshals, a trio of trailblazing Latinas with Caribbean roots.

The theme of this year’s Rose Parade is “The Power of Hope,” announced in September by the Tournament of Roses President Laura Farber. “Rita Moreno, Gina Torres, and Laurie Hernandez epitomize hope,” said Farber in a statement. “Through their talent, efforts, persistence, and dedication, they have achieved excellence and have given back to the world stories of hope, dreams fulfilled, dignity, respect and inspiration. They have provided el Poder de La Esperanza para todo el mundo!” The grand marshals were handpicked by her, alone.

Farber, the first Latina and third female president of the Tournament of Roses in its history, was appointed earlier this year and set out to host a celebration that reflects the community of Pasadena. Originally from Argentina, Farber told NBC Los Angeles earlier this year that this year’s theme for the parade is “The Power of Hope,” inspired by her own experiences as an immigrant. “We came to this country because this country represented hope. Hope for freedom of religion, expression. Freedom to pursue your educational opportunities. Freedom to pursue your desired careers. Just freedom,” she said.

Moreno Tournament-of-Roses

Jersey-born boricua Hernandez, who competed in and won a season of Dancing with the Stars shortly after winning a couple of Olympic medals in Rio, shared at the announcement ceremony that she had fantasized about playing a role in the Tournament of Roses. Like when I was a little kid and Id watch the Olympics and hope to be there, I did the same with the Rose Bowl Parade, and now I have that opportunity as well.”

Moreno felt similarly, telling the crowd, “The Rose Parade is something I’ve been seeing all my life on television. It’s a dream come true, and I can only tell you I am absolutely thrilled.” That’s high praise coming from an EGOT winner and a PBS American Master.

Torres’s reaction to having been appointed a grand marshal was much more elemental; as a Cuban-American Afro-Latina, her Latinx identity has consistently been erased by Hollywood. “At this point in my career, to actually be acknowledged as a Latina woman, having not been able to be that for a great part of my career, for me is an incredibly emotional experience,” she shared at the ceremony.