Public awareness of “Irish-American Heritage Month” remains obscure. Forty-four million Americans proudly share their Irish ancestry, especially in celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with parades, family gatherings, Masses, dances, etc. The American Foundation for Irish Heritage wants to have the same national recognition as other ethnic cultural celebrations, such as; National African American History/Black History Month, National Hispanic Heritage Month, Asia/Pacific American Heritage Month. This same national celebration and recognition can and will only happen with all Irish Americans taking action to succeed in that goal by appropriately commemorating our heritage, history and culture. Irish Americans have done so much to shape and form virtually all areas of life in the United States throughout our country’s great history. We must act now and speak up in order to be heard.
Below are recommendations and actions you and/or your organizations can take in individual states and local communities.
When asking any jurisdictions, organizations and institutions to designate March as “Irish-American Heritage Month”, give them a copy of the Presidential Proclamation posted on this website. This will provide the bedrock foundation upon which you can build your actions.
Ask your state senator(s), delegate(s), city mayor, county executives, etc. to support your request to designate March annually as “Irish-American Heritage Month”. Request them to write and call taxpayer supported organizations or institutions, e.g., public library systems, public television and public radio stations, etc., to get these public funded organizations and institutions to commemorate “Irish-American Heritage Month”. It will be highly advantageous to the success of your actions if you develop this network for support. Stress the idea of March as “Irish-American Heritage Month” as an extremely important part of celebrating America’s history and your community’s diversity. Diplomacy, persistence and especially patience will be greatly needed in order to achieve success.
PUBLIC TELEVISION: Television is an extremely powerful media which can be used to educate and celebrate diversity. The United States Congress appropriates money to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). The CPB in turn distributes money to many local Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) television stations. Some local PBS stations also receive funding from their state and local governments. (See www.cpb.org for more information). Irish Americans are taxpayers too, so contact your local PBS station(s) and ask if it receives funding from CPB, state and/or local governments. If your PBS station receives money from any of these tax-based sources, request your station to annually take the following actions in celebrating March as “Irish-American Heritage Month”:
* Develop and air annually throughout the month of March short commemorative inter-program statements, including local Irish-Americans
* Air throughout March Irish and Irish-American programs, such as movies, travel, etc.
* Insert commemorative narratives and pictures in their March monthly program guide regarding airing of Irish-American and Irish programs, etc.
* Develop during March a webpage link on their PBS station’s homepage to describe how they are commemorating “Irish-American Heritage Month”.
PUBLIC RADIO: Many local National Public Radio (NPR) stations also receive some of their funding from CPB. As with your local PBS television station, contact your local NPR radio station to ask if they receive funding from CPB. If your local NPR station receives this funding ask them do appropriate programs to celebrated March as “Irish-American Heritage Month”.
GOVERNOR’S PROCLAMATION: Write and ask the Governor of your state to sign a proclamation annually designating March as “Irish-American Heritage Month”.
In years past this Foundation has had as many as 38 states and United States territories designated March “Irish-American Heritage Month”. This is not as easy to do now, as each state and territory requires a resident to ask their respective governor or state legislature for these proclamations.
Public Library Systems: Public library systems are usually taxpayer supported, too. Contact your local library and ask them to prepare a special display table in each branch during March to exhibit books and video tapes relating to Irish and Irish-American topics and subjects. Local library branches often have lecture series, programs events, etc. throughout the calendar year. Ask them to invite a local personality to be a guest lecturer on Irish American history, poetry readings, excerpts from many fine Irish plays, etc., this is especially interesting and enjoyed by both young and old.
Irish and Irish American Organizations: Contact each and every Irish and Irish American historical societies, dance school, parade committee, AOH, fraternal groups, local churches and parishes with Irish names, etc., and ask them to celebrate “Irish-American Heritage Month” with displays and individual presentations. Ask all the Irish and Irish American groups, clubs, societies, etc., simply to let their membership know March is designated as “Irish-American Heritage Month”. Grassroots still remain one of the best ways of ‘getting the word out’.
Please share your ideas, recommendations, successful accomplishments, etc. with this Foundation. Each display, every mention in print, heard on the TV, Radio, seen in print etc., is great news in celebrating March as “Irish-American Heritage Month”. Please e-mail the Foundation at this website.