The Peace Corps Community Won't be Marching in the Presidential Inaugural Parade

The word came down by email about ten days ago that RPCVs weren’t invited to join the Presidential Inaugural Parade this January. It is the first time in years that the PCVs won’t be represented for the work they do for America. The impressive display of flags from countries where we have worked and served, appears not to hold any value with the current administration, while marching high school bands are warmly welcomed. So much for “Ask what you can do your country!”

 

The official reason given to RPCV/W was that the Administration wanted a smaller Inaugural. The “Peace Corps Community” (i.e., RPCV/W) submitted a formal application to the Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC), not the NPCA. The NPCA at the moment while having a salaried staff and offices, but appears not to have the ability to do the necessary work.)

  

However, RPCVs working in Washington volunteered (as always) and drafted the lengthy application. Led by RPCV/W President Chris Austin (Paraguay 2000-02), with help from Corey Taylor (Benin 1997-99) and others who had organized the 2009 Peace Corps Group that marched, an application was submitted and quickly turned down by the PIC. Next, phone calls were made, e-mails sent by key RPCVs in D.C, including all our RPCV current and former Congressmen, former Senator Harris Wofford, Hardball’s Chris Matthews,  and  Vanity Fair’sSpecial Correspondent Maureen Orth. They all lobbied for the RPCVs to march. I am not sure if PC/HQ did anything on behalf of  the RPCVs.All of them were unsuccessful. A “No is a No” said the PIC!

  

So, you won’t have to watch the parade in the cold on Pennsylvania Avenue hoping to give a ‘shout out’ to your favorite “RPCV”!

No, he or she ain’t going to be walking! So on January 21, 2013 it is…..

 

    Not this!

 

 

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But This!

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7 Comments

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  • Well, as I have said for decades, “In Washington circles, Peace Corps is an inconsequential jewel box.”

    Until PC gets again a director of national importance and very close to the White House, thus it will ever be.

    Tom Hebert, Nigeria 1962-64.

  • If the heavy lfters, Orth, Wofford, Congressman,and Matthews can’t convince a few 2O somethings Obama campaign workers ( and that’s who run Inaugural ‘s-I know I was an Assistant Inaugural Director for Carter–but I was 34! ) for a parade permit ..good luck on our favorite uniting topic..more Peace Corps. I hate to hang up them boots but it;s getting to be that time…

    Dennis Grubb

  • From Tony Barclay, Chairman of the Board, NPCA

    This is a bitter disappointment. I am glad that Chris was able to reach John yesterday and fill in most of the details of this story. Joint planning by RPCV/W and NPCA for participation in the parade began more than two months ago. We agreed on a logical division of labor and signed an MOU , with NPCA taking responsibility for raising funds (we set a budget of $10,000, most of it allocated to hiring buses and related logistics) and for coordinating participation by Peace Corps community groups from outside the DC area. By late December, we had lined up commitments for a good portion of those funds and were in communication with a number of member groups which wanted to have representatives march on Jan 21st. I am confident that NPCA would have fulfilled its duties, just as RPCV/W was on track to deliver on its part of the MOU.

    There is no evidence that the Peace Corps community was represented in the 2001 or 2005 Inaugural Parades. As one would have expected, the community participated in both Clinton administration parades (1993 and 1997). All the more reason to be surprised and bewildered by the decision this time around.

  • What is so ironic is that Dr. Kerry, daughter of the nominated for Secretary of State Senator Kerry, has forged a new partnership with Peace Corps Response. Dr. Kerry, unfortunately, was under the misimpression that nurses and doctors had never served as Peace Corps Volunteers. Be that as it may, this new private-partnership with Global Health Volunteers and Peace Corps is receiving national attention. The political appointed Director of Peace Corps Response, Sarah Morgenthau, is not a RPCV, but rather was staff with the 2008 Obama for America. I wonder if the new Peace Corps Response – Global Health Volunteer program will be represented in the Parade.

    Those of us Volunteers, serving and returned, who served for two years have been placed in a new category: the traditional Volunteer.
    Are we obsolete? Are we supposed to just, like old soldiers, “fade away”?

  • I am also stunned, we know a friend in housing but it might be too late, she is a 20 + year old . Dont hang up those nice bools Dennis before you make a trip for some Beef down here Sad part is Peace Corps helped get him elected when you consider what we have done in Africa

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