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St Pat’s for All Parade spotlights plight of immigrants, refugees

Melissa Mark-Viverito

March 6, 2017 By Christian Murray

A large crowd overcame frigid conditions Sunday to line Skillman Avenue to watch a multitude of Irish, gay and neighborhood groups march from Sunnyside into Woodside in the St Pat’s for All Parade.

This was the 18th annual St. Pat’s for All parade and many of the traditional groups that have become a centerpiece of the event were out in force once again.

There was the FDNY bagpipe band, the County Cork Pipe Band and the Niall O’Leary School of Irish Dance; LGBT groups included the Heritage of Pride and the Queens Lesbian & Gay Pride Committee; and local organizations such as the Shannon Gaels Gaelic Athletic Association, Sunnyside/Woodside Girl Scouts and the Sunnyside United Dog Society turned out yet again.

The tone of the parade was different this year, with less of a focus on LGBT issues and more on the plight of immigrants and refugees. The march was particularly significant in light of President Donald Trump’s executive orders on immigration and the clampdown by the US Department of Homeland Security.

“This parade celebrates inclusion and diversity,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who called on everyone to unite against Trump’s policies of division. “This parade represents a resistance of what is happening now and is a great symbol.”

Brendan Fay (Facebook)

Brendan Fay, the co-founder of the parade, spoke out in solidarity with Muslims, refugees and immigrants. He said that the Irish were once refugees fleeing famine and poverty and faced similar prejudice. He said that it is this experience that has shaped the views of many Irish Americans.

As in years past, the parade drew City officials, including Councilmen Jimmy Van Bramer, Costa Constantinides and Danny Dromm, as well as State Sen. Mike Gianaris and Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan.

Notably absent this year was Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The parade featured more than 100 groups, with organizations representing many parts of the world, including Mexico, Peru, Korea and south Asia.

The St. Pat’s for All, one of Sunnyside and Woodside’s most popular events, began as a predominantly gay-pride parade, organized by a number of Irish men and women who were not allowed to march in the traditional St Patrick’s Day Parade on Fifth Avenue under a gay banner.

In 2016 the Irish LGBT community were finally permitted to march in the Fifth Avenue event under the banner of Lavender and Green, an organization founded by Fay.

Fay and co-chair Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy vowed to keep the Sunnyside/Woodside event going.


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The article didn’t mention any Muslim speakers or groups at the parade. If this was the theme, why weren’t any invited, and if they were there, where’s the mention of them in the article? Or did the organizers think they’d do a better job speaking on their behalf?

Dallas cowboys are better looking than the cheerleaders

The gays just wanted to win the battle that kept them out of the parade . In a few years from now the glory of getting their way will fade and they will say why are we even bothering walking in this parade, we are the only irish folks in it, and we’re not from Ireland. Screw this, let get to jackson heights and try to get laid


It’s simply not a St. Patrick’s day celebration..It’s a gay pride parade and that is ” telling it like it is”..No need for name calling or branding people with a different opinions white supremacists..

telling it like it is

Another Sunnyside tradition. It’s the annual sunnyside post st pat’s for all xenophobic/anti gay commentators. Living breathing anachronisms! I bet some of you would prefer a white nationalist parade. you can choose steve bannon as grand marshall. I wonder how many of you mooks are the inbred looking freaks that hold up the crazy homophobic signs along the parade route. Thankfully your #s have dwindled over the years.

Not mac or el loco

Good for you maga. Your not against gays, your against the blinders they wear by making the comments concerning this . I dont understand the stance gay people take on this, muslims hate them, they would throw them off the 7 train platform if they could (el loco too). The Only reason i can think of is they feel they have to be crusaders in the cause of discrimination. So they fight for cause for the muslims. Just shut up and be gay dammit. Do worry about fighting for muslims.

Why did Trump take Sara Palin to Famiglia Pizza

PAMC- Yeah and the Saudis love you and want to be your friend


Brendan Fay spoke in “solidarity” with muslims?..I encourage Mr Fay and his partner to vacation in one of the numerous Muslim countries around the world..Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Pakistan to name a few..I suggest he and his partner engage in public displays of affection for each other..I wonder how long the ” solidarity” would last!

Putin ate my cornflakes

In some muslim countries, they are thrown off the top of a tall building just for being gay. Of course, liberals in this country turn a blind eye to this.


We don’t live in those countries, so don’t confuse the policies of the governments with the people who live in this country and who are AMERICANS. Ignorant fool.
Maybe you want to go to war with those countries, mission Gay Freedom.


@Me…really? I guess Mr Fay wouldn’t have to travel that far..He should engage in a public display of affection with his partner in any mosque here in the USA..Why not a gay wedding?..After all he stands in solidarity with muslims..It’s the Catholic church Mr Fay has a grievance with.


hundreds of years of catholic priests raping little boys, while shaming gay people….yea, we should just ignore that.


Since the victims you are referring to are boys and not girls wouldn’t one conclude that the perpetrators are gay pedophiles?..

Why did Trump brought Sara Palin to Famiglia Pizza

St. Patrick was not called St. Patrick in his lifetime so that was not his name.

Hoof hearted

Besides using his name, what on earth does this parade have to do with Saint Patrick?

Gardens Watcher

See “About Us” on their website for the history of this very inclusive event.

Paid protester

Patrick might have been an alcoholic, since that’s all they do to celebrate that day


It’s all nice, but only Sunnysiders know about this parade.
Not to mention unannounced and unmarked road closures.

How hard is it to post a sign on Blvd that all crossings on Skillman is blocked, instead they cause complete chaos and frustration to drivers and bikers who come down only to see road is closed block after block. Terrible management and inconvenience to locals who happen to drive.

In case of emergency, does the emergency vehicles get notified in advance? Does the ambulance know roads are blocked because there was a gridlock on few crossings.


Let me know how it can also jump over the gridlock created by the road blocks. Did you actually see the traffic on 43rd Ave on Sunday? There should have been signs on queens blvd, how hard is it to do that?

No interest in LBGT issues, zip, zero. Sse u at Gallaghers

i am straight and don”t really have any interest whatsoever about LBGT issues. Actually I dont know why the hell I clicked on this article


So the Mayor was punishing JVB for standing up to Phipps, huh? Nasty. He doesn’t support the neighborhood. He wants to twist arms. Good for JVB and good for us!

El loco

I’m in the second picture. I’m the one with th pink hat. Surprised? Are you Pat Dorfman hiding behind that silly name?

Kieran the Irish leprechaun lucky charms

No good. This parade Doesn’t stand for anything. Then again there isnt many irish here anymore. Maybe thats good the illegals would have been in the paddy wagon. The paddy wagon, btw, would be About the only thing still irish about this parade. I had the same feeling when i went to the feast in little italy and there were rasta’s selling beaded necklaces from a booth. All sellouts, these parades are bogus. No more tradition, shame.

43rd Street Resiident

What happened to Phil Donahue? Wasn’t he this year’s grand marshal.
His show wasn’t all that great anyway.


He was there. There just aren’t any photos of the grand marshals (Mr Donohue and Anastasia Somoza, a disability rights advocate) with this story. Unfortunately, i seem to have deleted the one photo I took of him with my phone!


I really think this parade is a wonderful thing in every aspect, and it makes me even more proud to call Sunnyside my home.


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