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…..