Keep the Spirit of St. Patrick and Democracy in the NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Concerned Members of the Affiliated Organizations of the NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade
For over two centuries, the Irish American community of New York has proudly celebrated their Patron Saint Patrick, their ancestral Homeland of Ireland, their faith and American patriotism by marching annually on the Feast of St. Patrick. Since 1992, the Parade has been operated .by St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Inc., a corporation whose sole purpose is to conduct in cooperation with the broader Irish American community a parade in honor of St. Patrick, the principles of the Roman Catholic Church and the culture and tradition of the Irish and Irish American people. Many of us had believed that the inclusion of an LGBT group in last year’s parade led by his Eminence Cardinal Dolan as Grand Marshal signaled an end to past. controversies and would allow the parade to once again focus on all that is right and important about St. Patrick’s Day and the parade.
Alas, it seems the Board has forgotten that the Affiliated Organizations are the backbone of the parade; some of them have been marching in the parade. For over a century and many of their members for generations. The Board of Directors continually marginalized the Affiliated Organizations, which pay annual dues, support fundraising events and who, per the bylaws, and are supposed to have a democratic voice in the parade.
We are deeply concerned with an agenda published by St. Patrick’s Day Parade Inc. Chairman Dr. John Lahey for a meeting to be held on 10/29 concerning revisions to the corporation’s bylaws. Among the agenda items are:
- Removal of the section which states “The Parade will be held in honor of St Patrick, the Patron Saint of the Archdiocese of New York and the Patron Saint of Ireland.”
- The elimination of the election, by democratic process, of the officers of the parade committee by the affiliated organizations; depriving the affiliated organizations of any voice in the parade.
- The creation of a new executive committee, replacing the elected Parade Committee, answerable only to Dr. Lahey and the Board to administer the parade.
- The removal of the requirement that members of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade committee be of Irish descent
- The removal of the requirement that members of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade committee be Roman Catholic.
In proposing these changes, Dr. Lahey highlights the fact that recent appointments to the Board were made contrary to the current bylaws and are thus null and void as well as any board decisions made since, specifically the appointment of persons who are employees, of Quinnipiac. University and report to Dr. Lahey as subordinates in his role as president of that University.
Dr. Lahey and the Board cite the need for inclusion in the parade yet the creation of special “executive committees” and the disenfranchisement of organizations that have marched and supported the parade for decades contradict those sentiments. They wish to remove the only purpose and meaning of the parade and to place it totally under the control of a small ruling body.
We request that the proposed executive board meeting and all changes to the bylaws of the parade be suspended and that a meeting of the between the Board, Committee, and Affiliated Organizations be convened as soon as possible. Our ancestors came to this country to escape the rule by elites and this meeting is more than appropriate and long overdue.