Monday, March 17, 2014

Dorcena Forry Kicks Off St. Patrick's Day in South Boston

Despite the controversy surrounding this year’s festivities, Senator Linda Dorcena Forry made history as the first Haitan-American woman to host the 70-yr-old South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast. Although the breakfast is traditionally a political roast, Dorcena Forry acknowledged the importance of her role as emcee by joking with the audience.

“For those of you watching at home, do not adjust your television set,” she said to a delighted audience. “There is nothing wrong with the picture on your TV. That’s right, everyone. That’s right. I’m a woman!”

For a city that has long been seen as a “parochial town of old ethnic allegiances,” the breakfast was a great symbol of the change Boston has experienced. Power no longer belongs solely to those in the “old boys club” and diversity is something to be shared and celebrated. Many of Dorcena Forry’s jokes played on this new switch-up.

Governor Deval Patrick joined her on stage, calling out to the crowd as he put his arm around her. “This is what a Forry and a Patrick looks like these days!”

One of Dorcena Forry’s goals for the morning was to lift the profile of the breakfast, and attract a broader audience than the usual attendees. By utilizing new media and taking the advice of former South Boston politician, William M. Bulger, to “keep ‘em laughing,” and “keep ‘em smiling,” Dorcena Forry did just that. Throughout the breakfast, multiple different videos were shown featuring prominent Boston politicians, including a comedic Rocky-themed bit in which Dorcena Forry is taught the ways of South Boston life.

The aforementioned controversy stemmed from the decision to exclude LGBTQ groups from the city’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in South Boston. The decision was made by parade organizers, who did not want the parade to “turn into a demonstration for a particular group.”

Many Bostonians showed their solidarity with the LGBTQ community by boycotting this year’s parade, including Mayor Marty Walsh. Walsh said the St. Patrick's Day celebrations, “honor Irish history that has been shaped by the fight against oppression,” but this year’s parade plans contradict that history as they, “prevent all Boston residents from participating fully.”

-Erin Kingan