The Irish Mexican Alliance was inaugurated in October 2010 in New York City by a group of Irish American and Latino artists and activists. The genesis for the initiative came from T.J. English, an award-winning author and journalist who had just returned from reporting on the devastation of the U.S.-Mexico narco war in Ciudad Juarez and elsewhere in Mexico. English, also the co-founder of non-profit corporation known as Irish American Writers & Artists, Inc. (IAW&A), wanted to create an event that would call attention to the situation with the narco war, particularly as it relates to the issue of journalists in Mexico being murdered for doing their job covering the story.
The NYC benefit concert was a big success, with Chicano and Irish poets, Celtic and Mexican music, special guest speakers, etc. Proceeds from the evening were donated to the Committee to
Protect Journalists, which has established a legal fund to assist journalists from Mexico who have been forced to flee and are now seeking asylum in the U.S.
The Irish Mexican Alliance was founded on the concept that there is a special connection between Irish and Mexican people, and that this connection can be used as a positive force for social change. The Alliance is rooted in history, specifically the history of the San Patricio Battalion, a group of mostly Irish American soldiers who, during the U.S. Mexico War of 1845-47, deserted the U.S. Army to fight on behalf of the Mexican people. The San Patricios were
captured, and many were found guilty of treason at U.S. military tribunals and executed by hanging.
We honor the sacrifice of the San Patricios. Documents from the era show that the choice to leave the U.S. army and fight on behalf of Mexico was based on principle. The mostly immigrant San Patricios came to believe that the war was wrong, that the U.S. government was engaged in an act of imperialist aggression. The San Patricios came to identify more strongly with the cause of the Mexican people, and they made a sacrifice that would cause most of them to lose their liberty and their lives.
The Irish Mexican Alliance recognizes this history as a heroic example of people standing up to the philosophy of Manifest Destiny. By choosing to identify with the cause of the Mexican people, the San Patricios were saying there is a calling higher than national identity, or nationalism. And that calling is the cause of human dignity and the right of people to self-determination.
The Irish Mexican Alliance hopes to harness the legacy of the San Patricios and apply it to issues of social justice. We hope to do this by staging benefit concerts and other events that celebrate and intermingle Irish, Irish American, Chicano, and Mexican cultural traditions.
NOTE: You do not need to be Irish or Mexican to be a part of the Irish Mexican Alliance. The Alliance is a SYMBOL of multicultural solidarity, cross-cultural solidarity, an example of people coming together across cultures and across continents to support each other on issues of social justice. If you are down with that, you are down with the Irish Mexican Alliance, and we hope to see you at one of our events.
-- THE IRISH MEXICAN ALLIANCE