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In ‘The Equality State’ Irish Lives Also Matter

Chicago Goes Green For Annual St. Patricks Day Parade
Tim Boyle Getty Images

“The Equality State” was coined after Wyoming Territory gave women a vote. Have you ever felt Wyoming has always had a better attitude of equality toward all? Is that a weee bit snobby?

Though it’s nice to really believe Wyomingites are a bit more welcoming, we sure  “welcomed” Japanese-Americans during World War II. And do we remember the real history of 1969? Wyoming had its own “Black 14” (Cowboy Football players were kicked off the team after they were disrespected, and dared to try to speak out about it).

Will kids growing up now ever have any idea what it was like 50 years ago for any minority? It was a time when it really seemed black lives did not matter, and for many of Irish ancestry, things weren’t much better.

If I had kids, I’d have them watch tv programs about Black History in February, and in March, we would not only celebrate Irish-Americans, but also learn how Americans were not always so jovial toward them.

I grew up in the south, so I thought hate was just between blacks and whites, until I moved to Chicago. I learned about neighborhoods that were clearly defined. One side of a street was Irish. The other side of the street was … Cicero … Italian. In Chicago, I was told that once Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said that he thought he knew all about hate from Selma, Alabama, until he came to Palos Heights, Illinois.

Well, enjoy every Saint Patrick’s Day, and if you want, you can think about this anonymous man’s response in the Huffington Post when asked what it was really like to grow up Irish-American.

“I think there’s a certain resiliency with some or most from an Irish perspective. You know, it never happened to me, but it wasn’t that long ago when the signs of ‘Irish Need Not Apply’ appeared in Boston. So, I think from that, there is a resiliency. There’s a spirit. To me, there is an inherent desire to move on, pick yourself up.”

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