The ‘Irish Stand’ movement is gaining momentum ahead of the St Patrick’s Day event in New York
Rosie O’Donnell performs at the Borgota Hotel Casino & Spa on May 29, 2016 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Photograph: Donald Kravitz/Getty Images
The Irish Stand against US President Donald Trump is gaining momentum ahead of a major St Patrick’s Day gathering in the New York City church where Martin Luther King once took a stand again the Vietnam War.
King’s call for americans to stand and speak out against conflict and injustice will be echoed in the Riverside Church where Irish writers, performers and politicians will join with activists and artists from all over the world to protest against what they say is the US administration’s persistent attempts to sow division and fear.
In an era where social media matters – and to few people more than President Trump himself – well known people with large followings on the social netowrk have been tweeting their support to the campaign.
Rosie O’Donnell, Martina Navratilova and Richard Schiff -a man famous for playing Toby Zeigler, the irascible White House communications director who could perhaps have taught the current incumbent a thing or two – have all been vocal in their support for the #IrishStand.
“Irish stand tall and proud – we don’t suffer fools. Resist tyranny! We Irish know how,” O’Donnell said .
Proud to have @Rosie O'Donnell supporting #IrishStand and the @ACLU ! Get tickets at https://t.co/Hwq9sRiqgq for 17 March 17 in #NYC pic.twitter.com/uBe26uhDPK
— Irish Stand (@irishstand) March 15, 2017
If @Rosie O'Donnell can change her twitter profile you can too! Help us take an #IrishStand on St Patrick's Day.
Change your profile pic! pic.twitter.com/oNG41xg7Mk
— Aodhán Ó Ríordáin (@AodhanORiordain) March 15, 2017
It's always worth looking back at how Irish immigrants were portrayed and treated throughout history. All proceeds going to @ACLU https://t.co/qBdfu2pHOP
— Hozier (@Hozier) March 7, 2017
Navratilova also lent her voice to the event while Schiff has been tweeting and retweeting positive messages and will take part in a “walk and talk” with Labour Party senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin on Friday night.
“I wish Irish Stand every success. They stand with every immigrant – undocumented and others,” said Liam Neeson while Hozier pointed out it was “always worth looking back at how Irish immigrants were reported and treated throughout history”.
“Absolutely everybody who we have approached so far has been hugely supportive,” said Ó Ríordáin, a driving force behind the campaign and a hugely vocal critic of President Trump.
Speaking from a New York metro, the Labour Senator told The Irish Times that “nobody is second-guessing what we are trying to achieve here”.
He accepted that while some people might dismiss the campaign as a one day wonder he stressed that “it would be worse to do nothing. If we were to let Enda Kenny’s visit to the White House pass without people from an Irish background least trying to do something then that would be a missed opportunity. I don’t know what happens next and we do have to be realistic but things can often go in expected directions.”
It was his twitter rally with Navratilova that led to her becoming an Irish Stand supporter and while he said using social networks to extend the campaign’s reach was useful, the event was rooted very much in the real, rather than that virtual, world.
“We will use whatever channels we can and we will take advantage of social media to make wider contacts but this is very much a physical event and is about bringing people together.”
He said that it was not limited to supporting undocumented people in the US and he pointed to thousands of undocumented people in the Republic as well. “We need to have common cause with othe undocumented people who are living in Ireland as well,” he said. “Nor could we possibly support any deal just for the Irish undocumented in the States What the Irish have been through in the US and the UJ has given us an experience and an understanding of what so many other people are living through right now and we have to stand with them.”
New York based Irish author and National Book Award recipient Colum McCann and comedian Maeve Higgins. playwright and Waking the Feminist activist, Lisa-Tierney-Keogh and actor Gabriel Byrne will are pencilled in for speaking slots while campaigners for Waking the Feminists, I Am a Muslim Too, Black Lives Matter and the Women’s March will also speak.