St. Patrick’s Day Parades Full of History, Heritage, and Politics

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade has been a long-standing tradition in South Boston, but today’s parade made history, as it was the first St. Patrick’s Day Parade sponsored by the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council that has included participation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) groups.

In 1995, the Allied War Council took their fight to exclude LGBT groups from participating in the parade to the United States Supreme Court and won, which led to a boycott by the Boston Mayors office ever since; but today was a day of inclusion.

“I’m very excited,” said Mayor Marty Walsh according to the Boston Globe, “We can finally move beyond the issue of inclusiveness.”

“The great Irish poet Seamus Heaney once said that there are moments in time where hope and history rhyme,” said U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey, who attended the parade. OutVets and Boston Pride are two LGBT groups that participated in the St. Patrick’s Day parade.

Boston wasn’t the only city to celebrate St. Patrick today, Chicago put on a parade of their own, where there was much celebration with a peppering of politics.

The Chicago Sun Times reported that when Governor Bruce Rauner marched along the geographically pro-union route of the South Side Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade, he was met with a mix of applause and jeers from citizens against Rauner’s creation of “right to work” zones in the state.

At least eight union-sponsored floats participated in Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, with the Irish-American Labor Council as grand marshal.

Also present at the parade were Mayor Rahm Emanuel and opponent Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, who took the opportunity to meet with their constituency.

Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood hosted the 57th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, representing Irish heritage in the area and also the transformation that Detroit is undergoing as a city.

“That wasn’t there 10 years ago. That was an abandoned building,” said Matt Reich of Grosse Isle Township, Michigan, while looking at the Grinnell Place Lofts.

“All I’ve seen is the smiles and positivity of people,”said Cedric Fairfax on the atmosphere of the parade to, “We’re Detroit, we need this type of thing.”

New York City will be celebrating with their St. Patrick’s Day parade on Tuesday, the oldest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the world, which started in 1762.

[Image via jpmpinmontreal]

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