Exclusive to TRT: LGBT Groups & Veterans to Walk in Peace Parade

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Mayor Marty Walsh will not participate in the traditional St. Patrick’s Parade due to its exclusionary practices
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BOSTON, Mass. — February 14, 2014 — Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) groups will march in South Boston on March 16—not in the traditional parade—but in the welcoming and inclusive Saint Patrick’s Peace Parade, that follows the first parade on the same parade route, organized by Veterans For Peace.

For the fourth year in a row, LGBT Groups will march in the Saint Patrick’s Peace Parade in South Boston. “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.” [pullquote]The Allied War Veterans Council (AWVC), the group that runs the traditional Saint Patrick’s Day Parade, has again snubbed the LGBT community and Veterans For Peace. Mayor Marty Walsh has attempted to negotiate an acceptable compromise with the AWVC with no results as of today. Mayor Walsh, as his predecessor before him, has announced that he will not walk in the traditional parade because of the parade’s exclusionary practices.[/pullquote]

Veterans For Peace is organizing what parade organizers call the only “Peace Parade” in the country. Cole Harrison, Executive Director of Mass. Peace Action, one of the organizing groups stated that the Peace Parade is energizing, with great music, great messages and just a lot of fun for everyone.”

The Allied War Veterans Council (AWVC), the group that runs the traditional Saint Patrick’s Day Parade, has again snubbed the LGBT community and Veterans For Peace. Mayor Marty Walsh has attempted to negotiate an acceptable compromise with the AWVC with no results as of today. Mayor Walsh, as his predecessor before him, has announced that he will not walk in the traditional parade because of the parade’s exclusionary practices. [pullquote]“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.”[/pullquote]

For the past four years Veterans For Peace has organized their own alternative welcoming and inclusive parade after being denied to walk in the traditional parade in 2011.

“We have never been denied permission to walk in any parade except for this parade,” stated Pat Scanlon, the Coordinator for Veterans For Peace for the greater Boston area and principal organizer of the Peace Parade. “I am a decorated Vietnam Veteran, with seventeen years of Catholic education, born on Saint Patrick’s Day and I can’t walk in their parade because my fellow veterans and I stand for peace. That is shameful and the exclusion an embarrassment to this great city.” “Bravo” said Scanlon, “to the new mayor of Boston Marty Walsh for standing on principal and announcing that he will not walk in the traditional parade unless LGBT groups can march under their own banners.”

“It is 2014 and time for these antiquated divisive practices to come to an end,” added Scanlon. “We hope every politician follows Mayor Walsh’s lead and not participate in the first parade until every group who wants to celebrate Saint Patrick and the proud Irish traditions can.”  [pullquote]“It is 2014 and time for these antiquated divisive practices to come to an end,” added Scanlon. “We hope every politician follows Mayor Walsh’s lead and not participate in the first parade until every group who wants to celebrate Saint Patrick and the proud Irish traditions can.” —Pat Scanlon[/pullquote]

This year will be quite different. Street sweepers, that for the past three years have been placed behind the first parade, dispersing onlookers, will now be behind the Saint Patrick’s Peace Parade allowing all the revelers in Southie to see and hear both parades. Scanlon added, “it is our hope that someday there will be one, welcoming, inclusive parade in South Boston, with everyone invited to celebrate Saint Patrick and the proud Irish traditions. Sadly, that probably will not happen this year maybe next.”

For more information about this year’s Saint Patrick’s Peace Parade, visit the web: smedleyvfp.org, Twitter @smedleyVFP, or Facebook: facebook.com/smedleyvfp.

[From a News Release Submitted only to TRT first in Boston]

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