Let’s get the party started — safely — on Mexican Independence Day

We join the city of Chicago, the Little Village Chamber of Commerce and the Mexican Consulate of Chicago in urging folks to celebrate responsibly.

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A caravan celebrating Mexican Independence Day brought the Loop to a standstill last year.

A caravan celebrating Mexican Independence Day brought the Loop to a standstill last year.

Dave Newbart/Sun-Times

While driving in recent days, you might have noticed Mexican flags — bright vertical stripes of green, white and red with the national coat of arms in the center — clipped to cars on the road.

It means Mexican Independence Day, Sept. 16, is upon us. Perhaps the most significant holiday in Mexican culture aside from Christmas, it commemorates the cry in 1810 for Mexico’s independence from Spain by the Catholic priest known as Father Hidalgo. Celebrations of “El Grito” typically begin the night of Sept. 15 and continue the next day.

Most Chicagoans will celebrate safely, but just like on the Fourth of July, there are some who will get carried away. This holiday too often unfolds with gunshots fired in the air, a dangerous custom that has no place in urban areas.

Editorial

Editorial

In recent years, spontaneous caravans of cars have jammed traffic on city streets. At a minimum, such snarls inconvenience folks. At worst, they can trap ambulances, fire trucks and police as well as first responders and hospital workers trying to get to work.

Last year, chaos unfolded on DuSable Lake Shore Drive and in the Loop. Two shootings and a carjacking were committed. A caravan gave way to street racing. On a third night of caravans, the city closed the Loop for more than three hours except for residents and workers. It was a necessary step.

This year, the Little Village Chamber of Commerce, which will host a parade on 26th Street Saturday afternoon, and the Mexican Consulate of Chicago are reminding folks to celebrate responsibly.

The city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications warns: “Car caravans that create a threat to public safety will not be tolerated. Drag racing and drifting are not only illegal, but dangerous. Anyone in violation of the ordinance will be held accountable.”

We love a celebration. Let the good times roll, we say. Safely.

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