It’s about time

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It’s about time

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St. Patrick’s Day Parade catches up with the times

This past Sunday the St. Patrick’s Day Parade was held in South Boston. As one of the holiday’s biggest parades in the world, it’s no surprise that it draws up to one million spectators each year. This year, despite the record-breaking snowfall, the parade was still held, but on a shorter route.

What was noticeable about this year’s parade was the presence of Mayor Marty Walsh, who ended a 20-year mayoral boycott of the parade after two gay and lesbian groups were finally welcomed this year by organizers. The advocacy groups Boston Pride and OutVets, a group of gay military veterans, were welcomed by the organizers to take part in the parade.

Until this year, gay rights groups have been banned from marching in the parade by the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council. The South Boston Allied War Veterans Council, a private group that organizes the 114-year-old parade, had banned gay groups from participating for decades, saying it was no place for people who were vocal about their sexual orientation. Twenty years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the organizers’ right to keep gays out.

Since 1995, Boston’s mayors have been boycotting the parade in response to the blatant discrimination. Thankfully, with this year’s parade, all organizations were able to move past the bigotry and celebrate together.

This act of acceptance is one worth noting. It’s a story of perseverance and standing up to those who won’t accept change.

Yes, the parade attracts a large crowd, but there were always those who, like Boston’s mayors, remained steadfast in their boycott of the parade. Many on the Simmons Voice staff experienced the parade for the first time this year because of their firm stance against discrimination.

When we stand together against what is wrong, eventually we will all march together for what is right.