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Archer Avenue goes green for a day

The Southwest Side Irish (as well as many more “Irish for a day” friends and neighbors) flooded Archer Avenue with good cheer earlier this month, at the Midway area’s only St. Patrick’s Day parade.

Hosted by the Clear-Ridge Men’s Social Athletic Club and the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150, the Chicago Working Families’ Archer Avenue St. Patrick’s Day Parade was dedicated to the memory of the late CPD Officer Ella French, who died a hero’s death last August during a traffic stop near 63rd and Bell.

Organizers said that some $100,000 in parade sponsorship revenue will be donated to the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation’s “Get Behind the Vest” initiative, which purchases protective vests for CPD officers.

Organizers said about 75 businesses and community groups marched in this year’s parade. The Archer Avenue St. Patrick’s Day Parade was started in 2017 by the IUOE Local 150, and participation from labor organizations, corporations and community groups has grown steadily each year.

“We are overwhelmed by the support that the parade received from our partners this year, and I am so proud to be a member of this community,” said Parade Chairman James M. Sweeney, who also serves as president-business manager of Local 150. “From the unions and companies who bought sponsorships to the neighbors who donated $10 or $20, everyone united to support the men and women who put themselves in harm’s way to protect our safety. Officer Ella French’s death was heartbreaking, and we hope that our effort can play a small role in stopping future tragedies. This parade started as a way to bring the neighborhood together for an afternoon, and seeing it step up to serve such an important role is something we should all be proud of.”

Top sponsors of the 2022 Archer Avenue St. Patrick’s Day Parade included the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 134, the Chicago Building Trades Council, Chicago Federation of Labor, Chicago Laborers District Council, Teamsters Joint Council 25, Pipefitting Council of Greater Chicago, McGill Asphalt, McHugh Concrete, Gatwood Crane, Megent Financial, Taylor Excavating, Ullico, Friends of Silvana Tabares and the 13th Ward Democratic Organization.

–Photos by Kelly White

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