The Saint Patrick's Day Four
The Saint Patrick's Day Four (also, The Saint Patrick's Four, or SP4) are four American peace activists of Irish Catholic heritage who poured their own blood on the walls, posters, windows, and a US flag at a military recruiting center to protest the United States' impending invasion of Iraq. The four consisted of a Vietnam War Veteran, former Binghamton City Mayor John Burns' son, and two sisters. Peter De Mott, Daniel Burns, and Teresa and Clare Grady each are members of the Ithaca Catholic Worker community, which teaches that Christians should practice non-violence and devote their lives to service of others. They each served between four and six months in federal prison for their action on Saint Patrick's Day, March 17, 2003, in Lansing, New York, near Ithaca where they reside. The story of their protest and trial was the subject of a 2006 documentary film, directed by Adolfo Doring.
Their first trial on state trespass charges, held in Ithaca, ended in a mistrial due to a hung jury.
The four activists were then retried on federal charges in Binghamton, generally considered to be a more conservative area where obtaining a conviction would be easier. However, local activists staged a massive protest outside the courthouse each day of the trial, and organized a six-day Citizen's Tribunal on Iraq (modeled after the World Tribunal on Iraq), featuring many internationally known speakers.
The four defended themselves pro se, but were assisted by a team of attorneys, such as William P. Quigley. Although they were cleared of the most serious charges, they were convicted of misdemeanor charges of damage to government property and entering a military station for an unlawful purpose. All of them have been released from prison after serving their terms.
Daniel Burns was born in 1963 into a prominent local family, the tenth of twelve children of a former mayor of Binghamton, NY. He worked for twenty years in the film industry, and is a member of the Directors Guild of America. He is married to Jessica Stewart, and they have two children. He has traveled to Iraq and to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as part of a delegation from Christian Peacemaker Teams. Some of his siblings perform as The Burns Sisters.
Teresa Grady was born in 1965. She works as a dance instructor, and as a licensed massage therapist with a private practice. She is a founding member of the Ithaca Catholic Worker community after working with a similar community in San Jose, CA. It was there that Teresa says she began to understand the connection between local poverty and global war-making. Fluent in Spanish, Teresa also works to assist refugees from Latin America. Along with Danny and Clare, she visited Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2005 and attempted to gain access to the U.S. military base there, which is housing hundreds of prisoners, many without charges or access to attorneys. Teresa graduated from the Alternative Community School in 1983.
Clare Grady was born in 1958, and has worked as a kitchen coordinator at Loaves and Fishes Community Kitchen for seventeen years. In addition to belonging to the Ithaca Catholic Worker community, she also belongs to the Atlantic Life Community, Phillip and his brother Daniel Berrigan being notable members. She is married to Paul Sayvetz, and has two daughters. Clare and Teresa are daughters of John Peter Grady, a peace activist, who as one of the Camden 28, broke into a local draft board and destroyed records.
Peter De Mott was born in 1947 and died in 2009. He served in the Vietnam War as a United States Marine and later served in Turkey as a U. S. Army translator. During this time he developed strong anti-war beliefs, and joined the Catholic Worker Movement in 1979, with a focus on addressing the causes of poverty, unemployment and homelessness. In 2003, he traveled to Iraq as part of a Christian Peacemaker Team. He was married to Ellen Grady (sister of Clare and Teresa), and they had four daughters.
- Trial of 4 War Protesters Upstate Ends With a Mixed Verdict, The New York Times, September 27, 2005
- 3rd Antiwar Defendant Is Held in Contempt, The New York Times, September 23, 2005
- 4 War Protesters Called Zealots as Government Rests Its Case, The New York Times, September 22, 2005
- Danny and Teresa on Democracy Now after the federal trial, Sept 28, 2005.
- Peter and Bill Quigley on Democracy Now during the trial, Sept 22, 2005.