Monday, March 19, 2012

St. Patrick's Peace Parade!

Yesterday, the big day finally came -- Saint Patrick's Peace Parade: People's Parade for Peace, Equality, Jobs, Social and Economic Justice. 
Pat Scanlon and Tony Flaherty, two of the main parade organizers.
As in years past, the Veterans For Peace request to join the "official" (or "traditional") St. Patrick's Day Parade was denied by the Allied War Veterans Council of South Boston.  So was the request of Join the Impact and MassEquality (both LGBT organizations).  (Read article about the MassEquality experience at this link, along with a copy of the letter they received from the Allied War Veterans.) 

Not being allowed to march in the "official" parade, for the second year Veterans For Peace and other groups (notably Massachusetts Peace Action with the leadership of Cole Harrison) organized the St. Patrick's Peace Parade (the People's Alternative Parade...).  This year's parade was bigger than the first one, perhaps two or three times bigger (I don't have a good count yet).

There were several divisions in the Peace Parade, including: Veterans For Peace, GLBT groups, religious/faith-based groups, labor, peace groups, political groups, and Occupy. 
Photo by Deborah Sirotkin Butler.
I was the "Peace Team" member for the religious/faith-based division (pictured to the right in my "Peace Team" bib and my Standing on the Side of Love yellow).  Lots of congregations and religious groups were there. At least these folks were there: Agape Community (Catholic), Community Church of Boston (UU), Dignity/Boston (Catholic), First Church of Somerville (UCC), First Parish in Bedford (UU), Friends Meeting at Cambridge, North Shore Friends Meeting, Old Cambridge Baptist Church, Pax Christi (Catholic), Peace Abbey (multi-faith), Theodore Parker Church of West Roxbury (UU), Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Andover, Unitarian Universalist Society of Rockport, and Wellesley Friends Meeting.  Of course, there were folks from many, many congregations throughout the parade, marching with the other divisions.  (I myself would have felt comfortable marching with the Veterans For Peace contingent, the GLBT contingent, the peace group contingent, or the Occupy contingent!  So choices had to be made for lots of participants.)
VFP banners, photo by Deborah Sirotkin Butler.

It was a gorgeous day; we could not have asked for better weather.  And those watching us march were largely appreciative (with a minimal number of hecklers).  The only downside was that we were supposed to step off at 2 p.m., and we didn't get going until 4 p.m.!  The "official" parade (before us) ran over, and so we had to wait and wait.  (If I didn't know better, I'd think it was deliberately done in the hopes that people would give up, or wear out, and go home.  But almost all the Peace Parade marchers hung in there, which is pretty amazing in and of itself.)

I would have liked to have seen more press coverage of our parade, too, but the Boston Globe did have this article on the parade.  They also put some photos of our parade on -- you can see them here.  In addition, The Metro wrote a nice piece on the parade; see it here
Addendum:  Great article on the Peace Parade at this link: "Why Should Peace Be Excluded from St. Patrick's Day?"

Below are several more photos, with captions.  Click on any picture to see it bigger. (Unless otherwise noted, the photos on this post were taken by me.)

A kind volunteer took this picture of me and others from the UUCiA.
The Peace Abbey, with rescue greyhound.
Dignity/Boston and UUCiA banners...
Banners of the UU Society of Rockport.
Folks from the North Shore Friends Meeting.
Folks from the First Church Somerville UCC.
The UU Congregation in Andover group marches...
The Community Church of Boston (UU).

 The Friends Meeting at Cambridge, photo by Janet Mickevich.
The Pax Christi banner, and Wellesley Friends Meeting banner behind.
The Old Cambridge Baptist Church banner.
Another VFP banner, photo by Deborah Sirotkin Butler.
Join the Impact's Boston-flavored banner, photo by Deborah Sirotkin Butler.
Some survivor families of military suicide victims marched, photo by Deborah Sirotkin Butler. 
Various local Occupy groups marched, including Occupy Boston, photo by Deborah Sirotkin Butler.
Looking down a hill, white VFP flags down at the bottom.  Another VFP flag in the pickup truck in the foreground. The man in the red shirt, part of the labor contingent, was right in front of the religious/faith-based contingent, entertaining and educating us with his words of peace and solidarity.

Last but not least, the wonderful Leftist Marching Band! (Not sure who shot this video...)

Friday, March 9, 2012

"We Still Live Here - Âs Nutayuneân". Incredible movie.

For tonight's movie night at the UUCiA, we saw "We Still Live Here - Âs Nutayuneân".  What a wonderful documentary!  All of us were quite moved.

The story is inspiring and amazing on multiple levels.  It's just an hour long.  Highly recommended! 

According to the movie's Facebook page, the film "tells a remarkable story of cultural revival by the Wampanoag of Southeastern Massachusetts. Their ancestors ensured the survival of the first English settlers in America, and lived to regret it. Now they are bringing their language home again."

According to the film's website, "The story begins in 1994 when Jessie Little Doe, an intrepid, thirty-something Wampanoag social worker, began having recurring dreams: familiar-looking people from another time addressing her in an incomprehensible language. Jessie was perplexed and a little annoyed– why couldn’t they speak English? Later, she realized they were speaking Wampanoag, a language no one had used for more than a century. These events sent her and members of the Aquinnah and Mashpee Wampanaog communities on an odyssey that would uncover hundreds of documents written in their language, lead Jessie to a Masters in Linguistics at MIT, and result in something that had never been done before – bringing a language alive again in an American Indian community after many generations with no Native speakers."

It's not available on Netflix (at least not as of this writing), but you can learn more about the film (or order it) here.