By Don Tagala, ABS CBN North America Bureau

Jersey City – The 35th annual Santacruzan-Flores de Mayo that paraded on the historic streets of Manila Avenue in New Jersey is all about tradition. But the tragic suicide of a bullied 12-year old ‘kababayan’ in Queensvillage has added a somber tone to this religious festivity that honors Christ’s mother.

Filipinos gathered here said seventh grader Gabrielle Molina could be anyone’s daughter

“I hate bullying, I don’t like it when people tease each other,” Chelsea Lumbos, a parade participant, said, “it’s a horrible thing that she had to commit suicide, that she felt that bad.”

Many parents at this parade said they would hold their children a little tighter today and will talk to them about this tragedy.

“Parents should really be hands-on in raising their children, at the same time they should bring this issue up to proper authorities and school officials,” said Jerry Bordanada, of the group Kaibigan Intinatag sa Samahan (KIDZ USA).

“Maging mulat tayo sa katotohanan na talagang dito sa America, Iba ang pamumuhay kaysa sa atin,” pointed out Lito Saludo.

Organizers said this yearly tradition is not only a reminder of the Filipino devotion to their Catholic faith but it’s also a celebration of the Filipinos devotion to their family and loved ones.

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