New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Parade Grand Marshals Dan Barry and Kathleen O’Sullivan kicked off proceedings at the New York St Pat’s for All parade 2018.

The New York St Pat’s for All parade 2018 took over the streets of Sunnyside and Woodside in Queens on Sunday, March 4, celebrating diversity, inclusion and equality as the Staten Island St Patrick’s Day parade continued their ban on LGBT groups marching in the borough’s own parade on the same day.

Senator Gillibrand. Image: Dan Brown.

Senator Gillibrand. Image: Dan Brown.

The St Pat’s for All parade was launched in Queens in 2000 as a direct reaction to the continued struggles of the New York LGBT community in being allowed to march in the main New York Fifth Avenue St Patrick’s Day parade on March 17. Under the theme of "cherishing all the children of the nation equally," a quote from the Irish constitution, the St Pat's for All parade was this year celebrating 19 years and large crowds gathered to start the St Paddy’s Day festivities early.

Read more: Gay group banned from Staten Island St. Patrick’s Parade

The Irish American Writers and Artists. Image: Dan Brown.

The Irish American Writers and Artists. Image: Dan Brown.

Although LGBTQ groups were finally allowed to walk in the main New York parade in 2016, the continued need for St Pat’s for All was displayed this year as the Staten Island parade refused entry to the Pride Center of Staten Island. Organizers said the acceptance of gay groups in the city’s main parade was irrelevant to them.

Congressman Joe Crowley. Image: Dan Brown.

Congressman Joe Crowley. Image: Dan Brown.

While the Staten Island parade was not directly referenced during the St Pat’s for All kick-off speeches, New York political representatives present all spoke of the need for the continued support of the inclusive parade and its importance in the community.

Grand Marshall Dan Barry. Image: Dan Brown.

Grand Marshall Dan Barry. Image: Dan Brown.

“We’re sending a beautiful message, right here from Skillman Avenue and 43rd Street that says everyone is welcome,” proclaimed parade co-founder Brendan Fay.

Read more: Timeline of the NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade’s LGBT controversy (PHOTO & VIDEO)

Image: Dan Brown.

Image: Dan Brown.

The crowds gathered also heard from New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, New York Congressman Joe Crowley, Irish Consul General Ciaran Madden, the New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer and NY Council Speaker Corey Johnson, as well as the parade Grand Marshals for 2018 New York Times journalist Dan Barry and disarmament and anti-nuclear educator and activist, Dr. Kathleen Sullivan.

St Pat's for All parade 2018

The 2018 St. Pat's for All Parade kicked off the New York St Patrick's Day festivities this weekend with a fun-filled celebration of inclusivity and diversity. The need for the parade was showcased once again in 2018 as the Staten Island Parade prevented an LGBTQ center from marching in their own borough's parade. You can read more about the story here: http://bit.ly/2oJ1Dp0

Posted by IrishCentral.com on Dé Luain, 5 Márta 2018

When are the St Patrick’s Day celebrations taking place in your area? Have you already held your parade?

The 2018 St Pat's for All parade. Dan Brown