CITY HALL — Borough President James Oddo and Rep. Max Rose will not march in the Island’s St. Patrick’s Parade on Sunday, citing the event’s lack of inclusion after organizers barred the Island’s Pride Center from marching in the annual parade with its banner.
“I won’t be marching in Sunday’s St. Patrick’s Day parade. I wanted to, and thought I could reconcile my call for inclusion with still marching, but internally I cannot,” Oddo said.
“No disrespect is intended towards anyone, including colleagues who will march. For me, my call for inclusion needs to reinforced by my own action. I hope for a good parade this year, and will work towards a truly joyous, inclusive one in 2020 and beyond,” he added, making the announcement on Twitter.
Oddo’s decision comes after Executive Director of the Island’s Pride Center Carol Bullock said St. Patrick’s Parade organizer Larry Cummings refused to let her group participate in the parade.
Since that time, Oddo and other Island elected officials asked that the Pride Center be included in the march, however, Oddo and others had stopped short of calling for a boycott of the parade.
Despite Cummings’ refusal, Bullock said she is not calling for a boycott of the March 3 parade.
REP. MAX ROSE, COUNCILWOMAN ROSE WON’T MARCH
Shortly after Oddo’s announcement, Rep. Max Rose (D-Staten Island/South Brooklyn) announced he also will not march in Sunday’s St. Patrick’s Parade.
“I struggled with how to support our LBGTQ community while still honoring our Island’s rich Irish heritage, but for me I cannot march with the [Pride Center] still excluded,” Rose’s tweet said.
“Let’s all work together towards making 2020 the parade Staten Island deserves,” he said.
Councilwoman Debi Rose (D-North Shore) said on Twitter she made the decision not to march in the parade when the Pride Center was first told they couldn’t march with its banner, adding that she applauds her colleagues for taking a stand against discrimination.
“I support the [Pride Center] and all the work they do on Staten Island. They are valuable members of our community. No one should have to hide who they are — not among their families, nor their workplaces nor on Forest Avenue,” one of Rose’s tweets read.
Mayor Bill de Blasio also said he would not attend the Island parade saying he does not “march in non-inclusive parades.”
This isn’t the first time the Pride Center of Staten Island has been excluded from the borough’s St. Patrick’s Parade.
When Staten Island’s LGBTQ community wanted to march in 2011, organizers told them they could march, but could not carry a banner or anything else that identified them because of the Catholic Church’s teachings against homosexuality.
The issue came up again in 2014, when the Pride Center — then known as the Staten Island LGBT Community Center — applied to participate, following the welcoming of similar groups in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade along Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.
There are also reports that North Shore Councilwoman Debi Rose will not be marching.
Staten Island District Attorney Michael E. McMahon and other Island officials also announced support of LGBTQ inclusion in the borough’s St. Patrick’s parade.
“We are committed to combating hate crimes on Staten Island,” McMahon tweeted. “Working w/our Hate Crimes Task Force, we know the best way to prevent these acts is to promote inclusion & tolerance for all.”
“In that spirit, @pridecenterSI (Pride Center of Staten Island) should be permitted to march in our St Patricks Parade.”
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