Monday, March 17, 2014

"Standing on the Side of Love" at the St. Patrick's Peace Parade

In all my peace parade glory!
The past two years, I've written a blog post summarizing my experience of the St. Patrick's Peace Parade. This year, much of what I had to say appeared in a blog post about the St. Patrick's Peace Parade that I wrote for the Standing on the Side of Love website (particularly focused on Unitarian Universalist participation).

The whole parade was great fun this year. Though we didn't get much coverage in the mainstream media, I like to think that the "peace parade" is part of the tide turning in Boston -- the story behind the story. I also like to think that if Howard Zinn were still alive, he'd write it up!

Some personal highlights for me (beyond the blog post linked above) included the participation of my own congregation, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Andover. Two photos of our contingent are just below, jumbo size!

Addendum: The local paper, the Andover Townsman, wrote this article about our participation.

The First Church Somerville UCC's minister on tambourine!
Another highlight of the "Religious Division" of the parade was the First Church Somerville UCC band! It's the first time a congregation showed up at the peace parade with its own marching band. It made the whole experience so much more fun! I told them that though were was no competition, they "won" the parade (at least the Religious Division part)!

It was a pleasure to be a part of the parade this year. I particularly enjoyed being one of the many volunteer organizers, working with other members of Veterans For Peace and lots of great organizations from the LGBTQ community; read their letter of solidarity.

The peace community was wonderful too.  Massachusetts Peace Action once again did much of the organizing for the parade and really helped it to be a success. Leaders from the Agape Community (also part of the Religious Contingent) wrote a wonderful letter of support that has many signatures from the peace community and the faith-based community... The signatures are still coming! (This happened shortly before the parade, so the signatures came in fast!) The Agape Community and others from the Catholic peace movement (including Pax Christi and the Catholic Workers)
remind us of the words of St. Patrick himself: "Killing cannot be with Christ", as well as the words of Pope Paul VI: "War no more! War never again!"

The mainstream media had a near "blackout" on covering the St. Patrick's Peace Parade. There were a few great editorials about the situation, including this piece in the Boston Herald by Margery Eagan.  There was also some press coverage about the peace parade grand marshals, Carlos and Melida Arredondo, heroes from the Boston Marathon bombings. Happily, today, there was a bit of coverage in the Boston Globe about yesterday's peace parade in this article by Jeremy C. Fox.

Things keep looking up, though. It was exciting this year that some sponsors of the Allied War Veterans Council's St. Patrick's Day Parade (the one that excludes the LGBTQ community from marching openly, as well as excluding Veterans For Peace) decided to pull out, including beer companies! For beer companies to pull out of supporting what has become a popular drinking occasion is a powerful statement.

Let's hope that soon, there will be one, unified, inclusive parade! Boston deserves nothing less.