Monday, February 24, 2014

Join the St. Patrick's Peace Parade! March with the "religious division"!

Your congregation is invited to join the

Saint Patrick’s Peace Parade

Stand on the Side of Love with the Religious/Spiritual/Faith-Based Division!

Please join us for our fourth annual Saint Patrick’s Peace Parade, the Alternative People’s Parade for Peace, Equality, Jobs, Environmental Stewardship, Social and Economic Justice.

UPDATE!  WHEN: Sunday, March 16, 2014, Assemble: 2:00 p.m. (Parade start: 3:00 p.m.)

WHERE: D Street & West Broadway, South Boston (Look for white "Vets for Peace" Flags). We walk the same route and behind the traditional Saint Patrick’s Day Parade.

There are several divisions marching in the parade: spiritual/religious/faith-based groups, Veterans groups; Peace groups; LGBT groups; environmental groups; social and economic justice groups; labor groups; political groups. Please join the spiritual/religious/faith-based division! Please Contact Rev. Lara Hoke (minister of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Andover, Secretary of the Smedley D. Butler Brigade of Veterans For Peace) at or 508-615-1686 to RSVP or for more information.

We hope that this year there will be a large religious contingent made up of congregations and other religious organizations that support peace and LGBT equality.  We believe that a parade that is inclusive of LGBT groups is in the spirit of the modern celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, where “everyone is Irish” for the day.  We believe that a peace parade is in the tradition of St. Patrick, who said, “Killing cannot be with Christ”.  Please march with us, carrying a banner or sign from your congregation or religious / spiritual organization, and messages of peace and equality!  All we need is for you to join us in standing on the side of love. Please join us if you are able, encouraging parishioners to participate.  Please post the above flyer and announce the parade in your congregation’s newsletter, bulletins, and more.

As in the past, we will step off a mile behind the “official” parade.   

BACKGROUND: Why are there two parades on Saint Patrick’s Day?

This year marks the 21st anniversary of the start of the infamous Hurley v. Irish American Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Group of Boston Supreme Court case.  Twenty years ago, the Irish American Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Group of Boston asked to take part in the “official” St. Patrick’s Parade in South Boston, but their request was denied by the Allied War Veterans Council (AWVC), the group that runs the parade.  The legal case went to the Supreme Court, which determined that a private group can decide who does, and does not, march in their parade (this is known as “the Hurley decision”, from 1995). This might sound reasonable until one considers that the City of Boston provides an estimated $400,000 in support of the parade (for the Boston Police Department, the Department of Public Works, etc.); the scale of the parade and the City of Boston’s financial support make it more of a quasi-public parade, and yet the City of Boston has no say in who can participate in the parade.  The AWVC has “exclusive control”; this group holds its meetings without public involvement or comment from the community of South Boston. The AWVC continues to deny LGBT organizations the opportunity to march. 

“Some day these walls of exclusion and division will come tumbling down, said Carisa Cunningham, the Director of Public Affairs for the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD). It will be a proud day for the City of Boston when one’s sexual orientation is not a litmus test for who can participate in a parade”

This year, once again, the Allied War Veterans Council denied the Veterans For Peace (VFP) request to join in the “official” Saint Patrick’s Day Parade.  In 2011, VFP decided to have an alternative St. Patrick’s Peace Parade in South Boston instead.  That year, the Allied War Veterans Council’s reason for denying the Veterans For Peace request was that they “did not want the word ‘peace’ associated with the word ‘veteran’.”  VFP intentionally reached out to LGBT groups to invite them to join with them. In fact, LGBT groups were the first ones that VFP reached out to and invited.  In spite of the recent repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, the AWVC still does not allow LGBT groups to march in its “official” parade.
In just three weeks time in 2011, VFP pulled their own permit and had the first Saint Patrick’s Peace Parade, which had 500 participants; garnering front page coverage and editorial articles in all of the major newspapers as well as numerous radio and television reports.  
In 2013, the Third Annual St. Patrick’s Peace Parade had close to 2,000 people, seven divisions, two bands, bag pipers, drummers, a Duck Boat, two trollies, etc. It was a grand success. 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 on St. Patrick’s Day.


The parade route is about 4.5 miles and ends at Andrew Station.  Rides along the parade route are available for those who need them, but please let us know ahead of time that you may need a ride.  Come by T if at all possible as the area will be very congested. Broadway is the closest MBTA subway station.

Parking is available for participants in the St. Patrick’s Peace Parade. Vehicles must enter from the north from Summer Street onto D Street; the parking lot is at 383 D Street. Look for the lot with 40 foot white truck trailers.   Allow extra time for traffic.


From North: Route I-93 to South Station exit (20 A). Merge onto Purchase Street to light (100 feet). Make a left onto Summer Street (will pass South Station on right). Go approx. 1 mile to Convention Center. Turn right onto D Street, parking lot .2 mile up on left, (look for VFP Flag)

From South: Route I-93 – Take exit 20 toward South Station. Follow signs for Chinatown, continue straight onto Lincoln Street, turn right onto Kneeland Street, turn left onto Atlantic, south Station will be up on your right. Take a right onto Summer Street. Go approx. 1 mile to Convention Center. Turn right onto D Street, parking lot .2 mile up on left, (look for VFP Flag).