Laura Farber Makes History as First Latina to Lead Rose Parade - NBC Southern California
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Laura Farber Makes History as First Latina to Lead Rose Parade

She's the 3rd woman and first Latina ever to be elected to lead the Tournament of Roses.

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    Life Connected: Rose Parade Chief Makes History

    Laura Farber has made history in becoming only the third woman and first Latina to become president of the Tournament of Roses. Beverly White and Kristopher Li report for NBCLA. (Published Monday, Sept. 16, 2019)

    Nobody becomes president of the Tournament of Roses without decades of volunteer service, guarding floats, escorting judges and even cleaning up after horses.

    Laura Farber has paid her dues and is now making Hispanic Heritage history.

    Laura Viviana Farber, president of the 2019-2020 Tournament of Roses, leads over 900 volunteers and guides the selection of The Rose Queen and Court. She alone will pick the Rose Parade Grand Marshal, with the big reveal happening October 15.

    Farber grew up in Alhambra, graduated from UCLA and Georgetown Law School.

    Now she's the 3rd woman and first Latina to be elected to lead the Tournament of Roses.

    "I'm so thankful to The Association for making it a priority to have our leadership reflect our community," Farber said.

    Leadership that means putting in hard work and traveling.

    Farber and her husband Tómas Lopez often travel to meet and fundraise for many of the marching bands and float builders invited to "wow the world" down Colorado Boulevard during the annual parade.

    She has traveled to Denmark, Costa Rica, Japan, Puerto Rico, Mexico and soon, El Salvador.

    It's been a whirlwind for the immigrant, who as a toddler fled dangers in Argentina with her family.

    "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," said Farber.

    Although Farber's children are all grown now, she still remains passionate about volunteering to read to other people's children.

    "I like reading in English and Spanish, it's a fun thing to do. I don't think a lot of folks realize how important it is to connect to that age, our future," said Farber.

    From sharing her love of literacy in local classrooms to traveling the world, meeting marching bands and floats designers, Farber strives to connect all communities through the power of hope.

    "The Power of Hope" is the 2020 Rose Parade theme chosen by Farber, and her message and her family story resonate with many.

    "To have (her parents) migrate here at a time that was difficult for them and to be able to up and leave and raise someone like Laura Farber. She is amazing. She is the American story," said Robert Mozon.

    Monzon co-chairs the Latino Heritage Festival this October 19, which selected Farber as its Grand Marshal, saying her connections and representation matter.

    "Here we are. A situation in the real world that sometimes isn't very bright. Here she is, giving us hope," said Monzon.

    By presiding over the 131st Rose Parade and the 106th Rose Bowl Game, Farber is headed for the history books.

    "We want to have a group that reflects our community. The only way you do that is by opening your doors. And keeping them open," said Farber.

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