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Dot Day and the parade are special: They foster a stronger community

The following is a letter to the editor that Ed Geary, Jr., Parade Clerk of the Dorchester Day Parade, sent to the Boston Globe.

First off, I must say that the stars were aligned for us hosting the Dorchester Day Parade this year. We had such beautiful weather. We were graced by the officers and crew of the U.S.S. Carr (FFG 52) who came into town to help us celebrate our history ( the first ship in several years) and I’m now engaged to a wonderful woman.

The Dorchester Day Parade Committee is made up of a group of volunteers – yes, volunteers – who strive to bring a wonderful, diverse parade to the neighborhood in celebration of Dorchester’s rich history and incredible diversity.

Mr. Lawrence Harmon, a Globe columnist, suggested in an article titled Run, walk, hide (published on June 11) that we do away with the Dorchester Day Parade and instead host a fun, day-long celebration at Pope John Paul II Park. Sounds like a wonderful idea? Really?

What about the congestion it would cause trying to fit hundreds and hundreds of cars into the small parking lots that sit along the banks of the Neponset River near the park? I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the State Police might frown on that. Where is the money going to come from to pay for it? These are just a few questions off the top of my head. These are questions that parade committee members have to ask themselves every year when we put our parade on the street. How much participation would, or could, we expect if we ditched the parade for a small carnival atmosphere in a local park?

The Dorchester Day Parade allows for local organizations to join in the celebration, among them the following: St. Mark’s Area Main Street, Dot Out, St. Brendan’s Color Guard, H. Levenbaum Insurance, First Baptist Church, Kenny School Marching Band, In Realty, Standish Village, Cristo Rey High School, Carney Hospital, Dorchester House Multi-Service Center, Codman Square Health Center, Dorchester Arts Collaborative, Mattapan Community Centers Drum & Drill Corps, Dorchester Lacrosse, Dot Bike, Dorchester Environmental Health Coalition, First Parish Church, Empowerment Christian Church. This is but a small selection of the more than 100 groups that participated in celebrating the parade this year.

The committee needs to raise between $20,000 and $40,000 each year to put the parade on the street. Most of the supporters we attract are the local businesses that welcome the crowd to line the streets, to watch the parade, and then to spend money in their establishments.

Just FYI, the parade kicks off at 1 p.m., but there is a road race, – God forbid another road race in the city – that runs from Fields Corner to the Carney Hospital and back. Alas, Mr. Harmon suggests that we do away with all road races as well. This particular run raises much needed funds for Dorchester’s Project D.E.E.P. organization. The stated mission of the program is “to foster the educational, athletic and social growth and development of middle school children of all races, creeds and ethnic backgrounds throughout the Dorchester community.” They don’t need the funding right? Let’s tell them, “Sorry we can’t have a road race, thanks to a Globe columnist who knows right from wrong. Hence, the reason, Mr. Harmon, why Gallivan Boulevard was being restricted to traffic before the marchers even approached the main artery.

It is my opinion that Mr. Harmon should leave behind the urban life and head out of town. Perhaps a local paper in the suburbs could use a columnist to offer opinion and cover news stories.

Mr. Harmon, I have an idea for you, considering the Globe is a Dorchester neighbor. How about you come to an upcoming meeting of the parade committee and write about all the work that we do every year to put the parade on the street. Let’s see if that gets some ink. I won’t hold my breath since after repeated phone calls, I can’t even get The Boston Globe to put a vehicle in the parade.

-Ed Geary, Jr.
Parade Clerk
Dorchester Day Parade