Last weekend, six of us from the ILIR Queens Committee spent 2 great days at the Hunter Mountain Celtic festival and had a brilliant time!
We went with a simple goal - to talk to as many people as we could and to spread the word that the current immigration debate includes approximately 50,000 undocumented Irish immigrants. We also hoped to get people to log onto theILIR website and get involved.
Wearing our infamous tshirts and armed with green LEGALIZE THEIRISH.ORG balloons, we were so busy!!
What a big hit those balloons turned out to be!
We must have distributed well over 500 - no kid, no matter what age they are, can resist a balloon!!
By the end of the first day, all you could see were those green balloons everywhere!
The balloons were also a great way to start the conversation with the adults - we must have been asked a thousand times "so what is Legalizethe Irish then?"
A number of the people we spoke with were genuinely surprised that the Irish had any problems getting visas to come live in the US.
We explained the situation to them and the vast majority of them went away determined to call their senators and congress people, to checkout the ILIR website and make their voices heard in this debate.
We also met a good number who were very well informed and were obviously keeping up with the immigration debate as much as were are!!!
The Reagan Kennedy flyers we had with us were good too, driving home the message to a lot of the first and second generation Irish Americans.
We also met some great bands who were playing at the festival.
Worthy of a special mention is MacTalla Mor, a great young and energetic band, who wore the LEGALIZE THE IRISH tee-shirts proudly and got everyone jumping around - thanks again guys for your support!
After the festival closed for the night, the party moved to a great pub, O'Neills in Tannersville, the next town over from Hunter.
Black47 were headlining and of course wore their LEGALIZE THE IRISH tee-shirts! There were LEGALIZE THE IRISH tshirts as far as the eye could see that night with all the brilliant bar staff doing their part too by wearing our very distinctive shirts.
Next day we were back on the job bright and early, balloons at the ready again!
Once again the response we got was fabulous - very supportive and everyone eager to do what they could to help. Even as we sat eating lunch, a couple of members of the AOH from PA pulled up some chairs and joined us, eager to hear each of our stories. They soon explained that they were 100% behind us!
We also met great people from CT, NJ, DE and MA, some who had already emailed us for more information before we had even left Hunter!!
We would encourage everyone in the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform to find out if there are anyIrish festivals happening in their area.
It is a great way to spread the word, get people interested and involved. Not to mention, it is a great way to get to know your local ILIR volunteers better and have a great time while you're at it!!!
Doesn't get much better than that really!