Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Declaration of Independence!
Mr. Laurence Shaffer, Amherst Town Manager
$ Boltwood Ave
Amherst, Ma 01002
April 15, 2008
Dear Mr. Shaffer:
For the past 6 years a loyal, devoted and diverse group of Amherst residents have worked tirelessly on a volunteer basis to conduct the Amherst 4’th of July Parade.
The Parade Committee has raised all the funds (thousand of dollars per year) to bring this event to Amherst citizens while dealing with swords in our side. The Parade Committee never anticipated that such a small but politically vocal group could influence the major policy board of our town in regards to our parade that was initially reborn in 2002 to honor veterans, active duty military, fire, police and other public safety personnel who worked tirelessly in the wake of 9/11.
In good faith, the Parade Committee has held 3 open forums for people to vent their concerns regarding any issues with the parade. In addition we’ve had 3 sit down meeting with you regarding inclusiveness in the parade.
We’ve always been inclusive to all who have wanted to celebrate the birth of our nation. What we never anticipated or wanted was offensive signage that would not be appropriate to be viewed by children or not in the festive spirit of the parade. I’ve said numerous times to Parade Committee members and the media that this is a parade and not a protest.
For the past 2 years the Parade Committee has been held hostage with the threat of pulling police and fire apparatus form our town parade. We the Parade Committee have done a great job and I’m proud to serve with this group of people who have successfully run this event for the town. We fell at this time that we’ve exhausted all resources for conversation and dialogue.
If you wish to pull public safety apparatus out of the parade, that is your prerogative. We have already been notified by public safety personnel for our town that they would march as a union if denied their apparatus.
In addition the Parade Committee has received calls from as far away as New York City that public safety personnel would not be allowed to march that they would augment any public safety contingents.
For all sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these, “It might have been.”
Kevin P. Joy
Amherst July 4’th Parade Committee Chair
Cc: Amherst Select Board