Thursday, March 17, 2016

We (Irish) are an immigrant people

They came by the millions, fleeing a society that allowed they and their children to starve because of the "potato famine," but in reality it was because of greed.
While the potato blight did cause a shortage of  potatoes, a staple of the diet, it was greed that continued the export of the beef and grains that were abundant and could have saved millions of  lives.

The lucky ones came to America, where they faced discrimination as being from a different "race" than the English.  They were met with signs stating "No Irish need apply" and the jobs they could get were the most dangerous and dirty to be found, the ones no one else would take.
So many wives became widows and so many children orphans that an Irish-Catholic priest in New Haven, CT gathered together a group of people to form a mutual aide society to provide for them. That society would become the Knights of Columbus and is why it still sells insurance.

But the Irish would not lie down.
Instead, they would organize.

They knew their strength was in their numbers and they formed Unions and stood together.
They entered politics and mobilized voters and they took over the cities.
They became the Police and the Firefighters.

We are an immigrant people, like every other people who came to this New Land.
Even our Native Americans migrated from Asia.

Like others before and since us, we have struggled and we have survived by standing together against greed.
Americans of all nationalities would do well to remember their immigrant roots, and build bridges, not walls.

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