Thursday, March 13, 2014


No to Bigotry in South Boston!

“I support the St. Patrick's #PeaceParade in #SouthBoston! No bigotry: let Veterans for Peace & #LGBTQ march #bospoli
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Mass. Peace Action
Massachusetts Peace Action is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to develop the sustained political power to foster a more just and peaceful U.S. foreign policy.

Through grassroots organizing, policy advocacy and community education, we promote human rights and global cooperation, seek an end to war and the spread of nuclear weapons, and support budget priorities that re-direct excessive military spending to meeting human and environmental needs in our communities.

No to Bigotry in South Boston!

For the past four  years Veterans For Peace have been denied to walk in the historic Saint Patrick’s Parade in South Boston. This is the largest parade of its kind in the country with over 700,000 people viewing the parade. The parade has a dual purpose; the celebration of Saint Patrick and the Irish traditions and heritage and a celebration of Evacuation Day, the day the British were run out of Boston. Both days fall on March 16th, so the City of Boston thought it a good idea to have the Allied War Veterans Council (AWVC) organize the parade. The problem is that one side of the equation, St. Patrick, a man of peace, is second fiddle to a military parade. AWVC has the exclusive say in who gets to walk in this historical parade. The City of Boston, South Boston Community Groups, the Boston Police have absolutely no say in who walks the streets of South Boston in the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade.
In 2011 Veterans For Peace’s application was denied, when asked why and were told, “They did not want to have the word Peace associated with the word Veteran”. Well they did not know the Smedleys very well. We pulled our own permit and with only three weeks to go before the parade pulled together 500 people and the Saint Patrick’s Peace Parade, the Alternative People’s Parade for Peace, Equality, Jobs, Environmental Stewardship, Economic and Social Justice was born.
Twenty years ago the LGBT community wanted to walk in the parade and were denied which resulted in a lawsuit that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court resulting in the Hurley Decision. The Smedleys immediately reached out to the LGBT community, inviting them to “walk in our parade”
In 2013 we had close to 2,000 people, seven divisions (Veterans, Peace, LGBT, Labor, Political, Religious, Occupy Everywhere) two bands, bag pipers, drummers, a Duck Boat, two trollies etc. It was a grand success. We have an Environmental Stewardship Division this year. Our goal is to end this last vestige of institutionalized exclusion, prejudice, bigotry, and homophobia and make this parade inclusive and welcoming to all and bring the message of peace to South Boston on Saint Patrick’s Day.
Please join us in South Boston on March 16. Be sure to bring your Chapter’s or Organization’s banners, signs and costumes and join us in our fabulous Fourth Annual Saint Patrick’s Peace Parade.
On behalf of the Saint Patrick’s Peace Parade Organizing Committee.
Thank you,
Pat Scanlon (VN '69)
Coordinator, VFP Chapter 9, Smedley Butler Brigade     Phone: 978-475-1776

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