Reclaim the Chicago Flag for the Irish Diaspo
Claiming the Chicago Flag for Irish America!
Chicago’s Irish and Irish American community have cause to celebrate on Friday October 7th when the Chicago Cultural Alliance will screen the film IN SEARCH OF WEEPING JIM in their “Journey Chicago” program at The Irish American Heritage Center that evening at 8PM. The film will also screen during IBAM on October 15 and 16.
The Tribune called this film “a lively tale” back in September of 2021 when it premiered at the Gene Siskel Film Center, but the fact is that the iconic Chicago flag, revered and loved throughout the world with its four red stars and double blue stripes, is the progeny of a proclamation made in the Chicago City Council in 1915 by Alderman James Ambrose Kearns calling for the creation of a flag
Kearns introduced legislation in the Chicago City Council in 1915, with these words. “Whereas it is fitting and proper that the city of Chicago should have an emblem of its history, progress, enterprise and achievement made manifest in the shape and character of a municipal flag in order to symbolize properly the civic spirit of the city of Chicago, visualize local patriotism, stimulate industrial progress, and instill in the hearts of school children and of citizens a concrete evidence and example of the reality of the City of Chicago as a corporate community and civic organism.”
Alderman James Kearns was born in Ireland in 1871 on the tiny inner island of Inishcuttle, Kilmeena, Westport County Mayo. He emigrated to America in 1884 at the age of 13 and went on to a long career in public service in Chicago.
Without Jim Kearns, there is no flag. And as Irish Americans we are proud to let the world know that an Irish emigrant, went on to transform America and the spirit of this city with his flag.
Please join us on Friday October 7th and at IBAM on October. 15 and 16 for IN SEARCH OF WEEPING JIM, which tells the story of Kearns’ grandson Dennis Kearns and his eight pilgrimages to Ireland to discover the flag story and present the flag to the Westport, Mayo County Council.
The film is bursting with great music from The Saw Doctors, Gaelic Storm, The Wolfe Tones, and locally Jimmy Cloonan & Friends, as well as an epic ballad written and performed by young Chicagoan and the Southside’s favorite Irish troubadour, Liam Durkin.
IN SEARCH OF WEEPING JIM, (written, produced, and directed by Mike Houlihan of Hibernian Media), premiered in September of 2021 as the opening night film in The 7th Annual Irish American Movie Hooley in Chicago, and had its Irish premiere in October of 2021 at the Town Hall Theatre in Westport County Mayo. The film also screened last April 2022 in the Fort Myers Beach International Film Festival in Florida. It is currently available as video on demand at https://vimeo.com/ondemand/insearchofweepingjim
All of Chicago is invited to join us as we celebrate and claim the Chicago flag for Irish America.
Cocktails will be available after each screening in the Fifth Province Pub and all of Chicago is ivited!