On Sunday, March 18th, there will be two parades marching through the Streets of South Boston. The second parade, the Saint Patrick’s Peace Parade, will be walking for peace, equality, jobs, and social and economic justice; it will follow one mile behind the first parade, the “traditional” Saint Patrick’s Day Parade. We are walking in the proud tradition that some Irish ancestors demonstrated over a century ago against discrimination. There will be seven divisions, bands, small floats, a Duck Boat, trolleys, and a lot of positive energy. It looks like a wonderful day weather-wise–a fantastic and magnificent day for a parade.
Assemble: 1:00 pm, D Street, between 1st and 3rd Streets.
Directions: From the Broadway T Stop in South Boston, this location is just a few blocks east on West Broadway (look for Veterans For Peace White Flags)
Parade: Scheduled to start at 2:00 pm
Why are there two Parades in South Boston on Sunday, March 18th?
This is a question all Bostonians should be asking themselves; this is a question all politicians who participate in the morning roast or who will march in the first parade should be asking themselves; a questions that the press should ask all politicians and City of Boston leaders; a question that everyone associated with or watching the parades should be asking themselves…
Well over a hundred years ago, the Irish walked through the streets of Boston protesting “discrimination” against the Irish. Today, the organizers of the “traditional” Saint Patrick’s Day Parade discriminate against two groups who only wanted to walk in the first parade.
First: Veterans For Peace, a group of veterans of the U.S. military who have dutifully served this country, many during time of war; members include veterans of WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. These are veterans who have received numerous decorations for valiant service to this country, who know all too well the consequences of war, its violence, its brutality, and the pain it causes to veterans and their families. These veterans, who now stand for and advocate peace, have been denied to walk in the traditional parade and carry flags and banners, some of which read: “Bring the Troops Home and Take Care of Them When the Get Here,” “Cut Military Spending, Save Jobs, Police, Fireman, Teachers,” “Peace is Patriotic.” For these sentiments, their application to walk in the traditional parade was denied?
Second: gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) youth, adults, and groups, such as Join the Impact, who just wanted to walk in the traditional parade and were denied because of who they are. In 2012, a time when Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is history; when gay marriage is now law; when transgender people finally have non-discrimination protections; and when there is a large GLBT population living in South Boston, they are still denied to walk, as a group, in the traditional parade. Discrimination against any group is a disgrace and should be unacceptable and an affront to all Americans–yet this exclusion continues as politicians, the press, parade participants, and residents of South Boston look the other way. It is easy to walk in a parade–it is fun to watch and hear all the pageantry of a parade. Sometimes, though, it is difficult and uncomfortable to stand up and support what is right, even when the opportunity is staring you in the face as it marches by.
In their one-sentence denials to both Veterans For Peace and Join the Impact, there were no reasons given as to why their applications were denied. When John (Wacko) Hurley (of the Allied War Council) was directly asked by Kay Walsh, the chair of the community organizing meeting, why Veterans For Peace were denied, he only repeated, as if pleading the fifth, “I can only refer you to the decision,” referring to the 1995 decision of the U.S. Supreme court brought about because of their denial of Gay and Lesbian groups seventeen years ago. When directly asked by Kay to allow Veterans For Peace to walk in the parade, once again, he only repeated, “I refer you to the decision.”
“Make no mistake about it, this is a very militaristic parade hiding behind the robes of Saint Patrick. We understand the legality the Allied War Council hide behind,” said Pat Scanlon, the Coordinator of Veterans For Peace. “We do not understand the morality; we have some highly decorated veterans, who have put their lives on the line for this country and are not allowed, nor welcomed, in the first parade because they now stand for peace? Shame on the Allied War Council for promoting division, exclusion, and prejudice, and shame on the City of Boston for allowing such blatant discrimination to continue. Shame on any politician who participates in the first parade, knowing such flagrant, narrow-minded bigotry against veterans and the GLBT community continues. The City of Boston should take back the running of the first parade. This type of exclusion is just not acceptable in 2012.”
For more information, the website for the Smedley D. Butler Brigade of Veterans For Peace is www.SmedleyVFP.org.