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Help Us Organize a First Class St. Patrick's Day Peace Parade

Hello all you wonderful peace, environmental, jobs, social and economic justice activists.

I hope you all decide to join us on Sunday, March 15 in South Boston for our 5th Annual Saint Patrick's Peace Parade the alternative parade for Peace, Equality, Environmental Stewardship, Jobs, Social and Economic Justice.


WE NEED YOUR HELP AND PARTICIPATION. Our first official organizing meeting for this year's parade will be on Wednesday, January 14, 7:00 PM at the Arlington Street Church, 340 Boyleston Street, Boston
 
Here is where we are this year. We submitted our application for a permit for the Peace Parade last March a full year before this year's parade. As in the past two years we requested a start time of 12:00 Noon. Because of an ongoing situation we have been relegated to march behind the first parade. As you know each year we make a little more progress. Last year we had eight divisions, eight great bands and floats plus a lot of people. Some say we had between 1,500 and 2,000 participants last year other estimate a little less. Either way we have established ourselves. 
 
We have made significant progress. The street sweepers are now behind us and in 2014 the police put us within a quarter mile behind the first parade, against the objections of the first parade organizers.
 
This year once again our request for a permit has a 12:00 Noon time. Our lawyers at the ACLU and LeClair/Ryan have attempted to communicate with the City of Boston since last March on numerous occasions by email, letters, phone calls etc. Guess what, we have not received one response. Three months out and we are in the same position as past years. We were hoping to have some response six months out so we could properly organize our parade. But the city just will not communicate with us or our lawyers and are forcing us to take this legal action.
 
Some may have seen in the news that a new group, OUTVETS, have been accepted into the first parade. That is wonderful and we applaud the fact that they are in the first parade. That does not change our position one iota. Over twenty years ago the "Gay and Lesbian Association of South Boston" wanted to walk and were denied. If that group were to reconstitute themselves today guess what, they still would not he allowed to walk in that parade just as our brothers and sisters at Boston Pride, Dignity or MassEquality would also be denied. So not much has really changed. 
 
That is the LGBT situation. As we all know Veterans For Peace or other peace groups or environmental groups are not allowed in the first parade. In fact in all the local press when they discuss the parade we do not even get honorable mention. The reality is if Veterans For Peace had not challenged these antiqueted attitudes five years ago the overall discussion would not be where it is today. There has been progress made but not until all legitimate organizations who would like to walk in that first parade are allowed to walk without censorship and able to express who they are and what they stand for and wave any identifying flag we will not yield. 
 
To cut to the chase. We are sticking with fighting for a 12:00 Noon start time and not settling for the back of the bus this year. We want our parade to step off one hour ahead of the other parade. The streets will be full and all will be able to see our messages of peace, equality and true inclusion.


It looks like we will be filing a lawsuit against the City of Boston this coming week. There are a few grounds for the lawsuit. 


First, we have established our parade as a legitimate event and should be given equal consideration with other events. 


Second, because the City has not responded to any of our requests for a meeting or even to have a conversation they have essentially denied our permit.


Third, by the city's own regulations, they cannot give preferential treatment to one organization over another. Our request for a permit was sent in last March. The Allied War Veterans Council (organizers of the first parade) submitted their request in September and the Boys and Girls Club in October.


Forth, the actions of the city is clearly showing a preference and support of the message of the first parade. That is a 1st Amendment issue. The City of Boston can not show a preference of one message over another. 


So our lawsuit will be filed this week. Keep your fingers crossed and your eyes on the prize.


WE NEED YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT AND PARTICIPATION


If we win our lawsuit we will step off at 12:00 Noon. The streets are closed off at that time and the crowd is assembled. This could be very big this year and we need your continued support.
 
If you are able to participate in our Saint Pats Peace Parade this year please let me know asap. Also if you know of other groups, organizations or bands that might want to join us please feel free to contact them and let them know about our parade.
 
Thank you and I hope you all have a wonderful and peaceful New Year.
Pat Scanlon
Parade Coordinator, Veterans For Peace, Smedley D. Butler Brigade
P.O Box 1604
Andover, MA 01810
978-475-1776
 
 

 

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