Irish Queers dedicate St. Pat's protest to communities under police attack

 
"While we stand here – watching tens of thousands of NYPD officers march in a parade with an explicit message of hate – African-American communities and other New Yorkers are gathering in Times Square to hold the NYPD to account for the murder of Sean Bell. Like us, they are standing up to fight the NYPD’s willful discrimination, its indifference to communities, its strong-arming of our streets, and its failure to take responsibility for creating a culture of violence."

For the 16th year, Irish Queers are on Fifth Avenue protesting the attempts of religious-right bigots to write us out of the Irish community. As we confront the parade year after year, we have seen it become increasingly political, and decreasingly Irish.

While our fight began in New York’s Irish and church institutions, we have learned that the City, the NYPD and the courts are all willing to trample the delicate, diverse fabric of the Irish community. So our struggle is not just with the parade organizers, but with the NYPD, the FDNY and other public servants who use the parade to express sentiments of hate and superiority that are disallowed anywhere else. And we struggle against messages of religious and military war-mongering in support of America’s conquests.

After 9/11, police and firefighters became the focus of the parade – celebrated and cheered even as they screamed “die, faggots!” at Irish LGBT people on the sidelines. While Irish immigrants of conscience were working to make links with Arab and Muslim immigrants who were coming under attack citywide, our parade was filled with US military contingents – bringing guns to our streets, hyping the war.

This year, the parade is filled with politics too. While we stand here – watching tens of thousands of NYPD officers march in a parade with an explicit message of hate – African-American communities and other New Yorkers are gathering in Times Square to hold the NYPD to account for the murder of Sean Bell. Like us, they are standing up to fight the NYPD’s willful discrimination, its indifference to communities, its strong-arming of our streets, and its failure to take responsibility for creating a culture of violence. Meanwhile, back at the St. Patrick’s parade, our elected officials are falling over themselves to insist on firefighter’s “rightful place” near the head of this bigoted display.

Our protest this year is dedicated to the struggles of immigrants, of queers, of neighborhoods and communities against the violence of bigots. Whether we come under attack from the church, the state or our own public servants, we will stand together to resist.

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Irish Queers, which evolved out of the Irish Lesbian & Gay Organization, is active on immigrant justice, Northern Ireland self-determination, anti-racism and other social justice issues.

www.irishqueers.org

homepage:: http://nyc.indymedia.org/

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