A First for the Brooklyn St. Patrick’s Parade

The Brooklyn Irish LGBTQ Organization (Photo by Gabriele Holtermann-Gorden via Irish Central)

Ahead of the 44th annual Brooklyn St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday, Irish Central reports that the event will include an LGBTQ contingent for the first time.

The application of the Brooklyn Irish LGBTQ Organization (BILO) to march was accepted last month. Local Assemblymember Robert Carroll had joined Lisa Fane and the group’s other founders in sending letters asking for an LGBTQ presence in the parade.

Fane noted the support of Assemblymember Carroll, whose grandfather was the original founder of the Brooklyn parade, telling IrishCentral of the responsibility Carroll felt in making sure that the parade was diverse.

“As a lifelong resident of Windsor Terrace whose Grandfather started this parade in 1976, whose father was the announcer for this parade for many years and who participated in this parade every year growing up, I applaud the Irish American parade-committee decision to allow BILO to march in this year’s parade” said Carroll (D-WF), who represents Brooklyn’s 44th Assembly District which includes the neighborhoods of Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Kensington, Victorian Flatbush, Borough Park, Ditmas Park, and Midwood.

“My grandfather founded this parade to commemorate the American bicentennial and to celebrate the Irish and the contributions of Irish Americans to this country and I know that he would be proud to know that the parade is welcoming the Brooklyn Irish LGBTQ contingent.”

Only one borough still does not allow for an LGBTQ contingent. Find out which one it is and read more from BILO, at Irish Central.

At a St. Patrick’s Day luncheon on March 13 at the Queens Chamber of Commerce, Brian O’Dwyer, grand marshal of the Manhattan parade on Saturday, addressed immigration in his keynote speech, reports The Wave’s Fionnuala O’Leary.

The founder of the Emerald Isle Immigration Center (EIIC), the largest Irish center of its kind in the U.S., told attendees that people “who despise immigration, despise their ancestors.”

“My selection, in a lot of ways, represented a championship of this community pushing back against those that would hate our immigrants and hate immigration,” O’Dwyer told the rapt crowd. “[The] Irish who forget where we come from do a disservice to our people and to who we are.

“We’re not pulling up the ladder behind us because we’ve made it in this society: we are reaching down to pull up all those immigrants. One of the reasons I’m delighted to be here today, is that this organization, as diverse as it is, represents the finest of what New York is and what we are as a people.”

Read more at The Wave.

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