How Art Works — Presented by Neighborhood Writing Alliance

How Art Works: The Impact of Art on Chicago Movements

Date: Thursday, April 21 2011 @ 6:00pm

Admission: FREE

800 S. Halsted
Chicago, IL 60607

Presenter: Neighborhood Writing Alliance

NWA presents a panel representing a variety of artistic mediums and social movements across the city. Presenters discuss how they have used art to further specific causes, such as environmental justice, youth development, and inter-generational collaboration. Presenters include: Credell Walls, the Illinois State Coordinator of Roots and Shoots, a subsidiary of the Jane Goodall Institute; Mindy Faber, media educator and founder of Open Youth Networks; Tasleem el-Hakim, activist, spoken word artist, and hip-hop vocalist; and Joyce Fernandes, Executive Director of archi-treasures. The panel is moderated by Mariame Kaba, founding director of Project NIA.

Remembering The Triangle Fire — Joshua Freeman In The Nation

[Chicago remembers the Triangle Fire on April 7, 2011.  Click here to find out more]
Remembering the Triangle Fire
Joshua Freeman

Joshua Freeman teaches history at Queens College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York

On March 25, 1911, a fire that broke out in a bin holding scraps of fabric at the Triangle Waist Company, just down the block from New York City’s Washington Square Park, quickly spread, fed by cotton garments, tissue paper and wooden fixtures. Though the building that housed the clothing manufacturer was modern and advertised as fireproof, the cramped layout of the factory, a locked exit door, a flimsy fire escape that soon crumpled and inadequate fire department equipment brought a staggering loss of life. Within a half-hour, 146 workers had died, mostly young Jewish and Italian women, nearly half still in their teens. Two were only 14. More than a third of the victims jumped or fell from upper-story windows trying to escape the flames.

The 100th anniversary of the Triangle Fire is being commemorated by a remarkable array of events. As it does every year, Workers United, the union that represents garment workers, is sponsoring a ceremony at the site of the fire. (The building is now part of New York University.) Each year a fire department truck raises a ladder to the sixth floor, the highest its equipment could reach in 1911, painfully short of the eighth, ninth and tenth floors, where the fire occurred. Forums about the fire are being held in New York, Philadelphia, St. Paul, San Francisco and Los Angeles, and the City University of New York is sponsoring a conference on the fire and its legacy. HBO and PBS are airing documentaries. At least six Triangle-related plays and four musical theater pieces are being performed in cities across the country, including one composed by five-time Tony nominee Elizabeth Swados. Concerts, an art exhibit, a poetry contest and a forty-hour fast are being staged to mark the centennial.

The attention being given to Triangle stands out in a society that rarely remembers anything connected to workers’ lives, struggles or tragedies. Names like Homestead, Pullman and Flint, associated with decisive labor battles, mean nothing to most Americans. Yet even before the recent flurry of activity, the Triangle Fire occupied a modest niche in national culture, the subject of novels, historical studies, a film, plays, books of poetry, document collections, websites and even children’s books.

Why its prominence? After all, there were worse industrial disasters, including four mining accidents in the United States between 1907 and 1917, each of which killed more people than the New York fire. At the time, by one estimate, industrial accidents took at least 100 lives a day. And if Triangle was New York’s worst occupational disaster before 9/11, there were deadlier calamities, including the 1904 fire on the excursion ship General Slocum, which took well over 1,000 lives.

Triangle commands our notice in part because of the specifics of the disaster. There is something particularly horrifying about being trapped in a fire and plummeting through the air to escape it (so much so that ninety years later, on 9/11, newspapers and television generally refrained from showing images of people jumping from the World Trade Center). That so many of the victims were young and female added a layer of poignancy, as we commonly associate youth, especially young girls, with innocence, making their deaths seem even more undeserved than those of older victims of mining explosions and industrial accidents. And the Triangle Fire took place in the media capital of the country, receiving massive press coverage, including harrowing photographs difficult to forget.

But if the horror of death, of young life snuffed out, figures centrally in the Triangle story, particularly as relayed in poetry, fiction and young people’s literature, the story looms large for another reason: it fulfills a deeply held belief, or at least a yearning to believe, that good can come out of suffering, that death does not have to be in vain. “Out of the smoke and the flame,” not only “downward dashed the girls,” as an Episcopal minister wrote at the time, but also came a host of government reforms, union advances and a political approach that at least for a while eliminated many of the worst horrors associated with industrialization.

The Triangle Fire occurred at a moment of radical challenge to the national structures of power. For more than a decade the union movement had been growing in size and strength, stretching from conservative craft unions in the American Federation of Labor to the radical Industrial Workers of the World, with emerging garment worker unions combining elements of both. During the two years before the fire, a wave of protests had swept through the garment factories of New York and other cities, beginning with the “Uprising of the Twenty Thousand,” a general strike of young female makers of women’s blouses, including those employed by the Triangle Waist Company. The struggle of the “girl strikers” proved epic. For thirteen weeks the clothing companies used thugs and police to try to break the walkout, while the strikers won support from organized labor, socialists and women’s groups, including prominent figures like multimillionaire suffragist and socialite Alva Belmont. The strike ended in a partial victory, union settlements with some 300 companies (though not Triangle) and a general improvement of pay and conditions. The next year, a cloakmakers strike brought the “Protocols of Peace,” an innovative agreement with the employers that solidified the International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union and established a Joint Board of Sanitary Control to address the dangerous, unhealthy conditions that permeated the industry.

The garment strikes erupted from a world bubbling with the excitement of new ideas and movements—socialism, anarchism, women’s rights and industrial unionism. Even Theodore Roosevelt recognized that as a result of the rapid industrialization of the country and the enormous disparity of wealth it created, “The old laws, and the old customs…. are no longer sufficient.” What was called “the labor question” dominated political discourse—the issue of how to end the strikes and labor violence that had shaken the country and, more fundamentally, how democracy and economic inequality could coexist. Progressives and unionists sought to develop mechanisms to eliminate the worst abuses of capitalist society and give working people some say about their lives, on and off the job. Propped up by an expanding economy and a widespread belief in the idea of progress, a great optimism about the possibilities for change managed to survive the daily horrors of unrestrained capitalism.

The Triangle Fire catalyzed the forces of change. In its immediate aftermath, some unionists concluded that workers could depend only on themselves. Rose Schneiderman, an organizer for the Women’s Trade Union League, told a meeting at the Metropolitan Opera House, called to address industrial safety, “I would be a traitor to these poor burned bodies if I came here to talk good fellowship. We have tried you good people of the public and we have found you wanting…. I know from my experience it is up to the working people to save themselves.” Triangle spurred intensified union organizing, a crescendo that would peak in 1919, when one out of every five workers in the country went on strike, a figure never again matched.

But Triangle forced others to address the plight of factory workers, too. Democratic leaders in Albany, under pressure from the massive outpouring of public sympathy for the Triangle victims (some 400,000 people came out for a funeral procession), organized labor, the Hearst press, the socialists (one of whose leaders, Meyer London, got elected to Congress from the Lower East Side in 1914) and upper-class reformers like Wall Street lawyer Henry Stimson (who was to serve as secretary of war on two separate occasions), decided to embrace the cause of factory reform as their own. Two years after police with ties to Tammany were beating up strikers in front of the Triangle factory, up-and-coming Democrats Al Smith and Robert Wagner took charge of a state Factory Investigating Commission, staffing it with young female union leaders like Clara Lemlich, whose impassioned speech had set off the “Uprising of the Twenty Thousand,” and social reformers like Frances Perkins, executive secretary of the Consumers’ League. The commission’s detailed report led to dozens of New York State fire and factory laws (many copied in other states) establishing new safety requirements, limiting working hours for women and children, and restricting production in tenement homes.

The alliance linking New York Democrats with unions and progressive reformers persisted through the 1920s under the governorships of Al Smith and Franklin Roosevelt, before blossoming during the New Deal. Perkins, who had witnessed workers jumping out of the Triangle windows, became the first female cabinet officer as labor secretary. Wagner, by then a senator, wrote the National Labor Relations Act, which facilitated the triumph of industrial unionism. Thirty-five years after that, a similar coalition of unionists, reform-minded professionals and liberal Democrats (joined, for reasons of political calculus, by Richard Nixon) engineered the Occupational Safety and Health Act. By the time Rose Freedman, the last survivor of the Triangle Fire, died in 2001 at 107, the number of deaths from workplace accidents had fallen to fewer than half those at the time OSHA was passed and just a fraction of the toll at the time of Triangle.

* * *

The unionization and reform that followed Triangle provides a feel-good element to an otherwise bleak story and accounts for some of its telling and retelling. Yet the triumphs—as remarkable as they were—proved limited in scope and durability. Government protections and benefits excluded many of the most exploited workers, like agricultural and domestic labor. And for garment workers, their moment of economic stability lasted only a generation or so; during the post–World War II decades, clothing manufacturers began leaving unionized production centers like New York City for rural and Southern locations, where organized labor was weaker and costs lower, and then for foreign shores. As the industry reorganized, sub-minimum and sub-subsistence wages, child labor and dangerous working conditions re-emerged, both in low-end shops in New York and Los Angeles that employed (as did the Triangle Waist Company) almost exclusively immigrant labor and in the vast archipelago of factories abroad—in Haiti, Central America, China and Bangladesh—where young women toil to feed apparel to American retailers.

The re-emergence of sweated labor in the garment industry previewed a broader degradation of work that has occurred since the 1970s, in the face of deregulation and economic restructuring. Many industries, like meatpacking, went from providing stable, well-paid, unionized jobs to operating dangerous facilities with low pay, poor benefits and high turnover. Manufacturing increasingly left the country (one reason for the drop in occupational fatalities). No one should have been surprised when in 1991 twenty-five workers died in a fire at a poultry plant in Hamlet, North Carolina, where doors were locked to prevent theft, just as at Triangle, or when two years later a fire at the Kadar toy factory near Bangkok killed more workers than at Triangle, the result of a similar combination of flammable materials strewn about, crowded conditions, inadequate exits and a lack of fire safety preparation.

Today, as a cult of deregulation, a rabid ethos of unrestricted capitalism and the ability of firms to play workers in one country against those in another have seemingly sent us careening back in time toward a pre–New Deal regime of labor relations, there is less domestic opposition to sweated labor than 100 years ago (though low-paid workers overseas have been increasingly militant, evident in the fusillade of strikes in China). Periodic waves of moral outrage sweep across college campuses in antisweatshop campaigns, but as an organized force, labor has weakened to the point that the percentage of privately employed workers who belong to a union is now lower than in 1911.

Given the enormous differences, politically, socially and culturally, between our time and the time of Triangle, it would be glib to draw specific lessons for today from the reformers who pulled some good from the ashes of the fire. But perhaps we can learn from their broad approach. The seemingly technical, incremental reforms that came in the aftermath of Triangle—requirements for sprinklers and fire drills and unlocked exit doors that open outward—were no more the result of modest thinking than the sweeping New Deal reforms like Social Security that came two decades later. Rather, they came out of a shared belief by socialists, unionists and even progressive presidents like Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson that the society they lived in was fundamentally disordered, with institutions, rules and customs inappropriate for the needs of the people. The world needed reinventing. But if the spirit of revolution infused the air, so did the practical draw of social engineering and respect, grounded in daily experience, for the importance of even small changes in the conditions of work.

Today, the labor movement and progressives fight one dispiriting battle after another to defend wages, benefits, social programs and government protections from further dismemberment. Even the thrilling mobilization of labor and its allies in Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana has remained, so far, defensive—necessary, but not enough even to win incremental advances. We live in a society that simply does not function for an ever-growing part of the population. It is too late to rally around restoring the status quo ante, an impossible and not particularly attractive ideal. Rather, like the social forces fused together by the flames at Triangle, we need to imagine a new way of being, a new set of customs and laws designed for our world of commoditization, financialization and globalization, which has brought so much wealth and so much misery—some new combination of regulation and self-organization. Only by recapturing the spirit of the reformers of a century ago, that the world belongs to us, to make right as we see fit, can we achieve even modest improvements in our daily reality.

Rosie’s Girls — by Julia Stein

[Reposted from Counterpunch's Poetry Basement, edited by Marc Beaudin.  Julia Stein's poetry along with other work from the poetry anthology she edited, Walking Through A River Of Fire, will be read at a commemoration of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire,  Thursday, April 7, 2011.  The program begins at 3 pm, ends at 5 pm at Gage Gallery, 18 So. Michigan Ave; and will be followed by a screening of the recent American Experience documentary film on Triangle.  At 6 pm the Working Women's History Project continues the commemoration with a special performance of a play written for this occasion, performed at their annual fundraising gala at Roosevelt University, 214 So. Michigan Ave. - Lew Rosenbaum ]

One of Rosie’s Girls

We union girls every Saturday walked to the Asch building,
yelled up to the eighth, ninth, and tenth floors, “So long
until victory is yours” to our sisters at Triangle Factory,
our sisters who lost their strike, the girls defeated
by scabs, their dreams of union smashed,
our sisters entrapped up the elevator eight, nine floors,
the girls who are locked in, one fire escape, no union
the floors covered with scraps of clothing,
the girls who screamed and burned in the fire.

After the terrible fire I walked numbly in the April rain

into the funeral march crowd that overflowed Washington Square.
My sorrow was enough to flood all of Fifth Avenue,
My rage was enough to flood all of Broadway.
They led the empty hearse first up through the huge arch,
then we walked silently eight abreast the rain hitting us hard
up Fifth Avenue the fine ladies in their frilly shirtwaists and the
fine gentlemen in their fancy suits on the sidewalk stared at us,
we were so drenched walking past the mansions of the rich.

We hissed and screamed from the floor, the galleries
packed with my brothers and sisters of the dead at
the Metropolitan Opera House memorial meeting;
we only quieted when Rosie Schneiderman, tiny steel wisp
with her flaming red hair, whispered,
‘This is not the first time girls have burned alive
in this city. Every week I must learn of the untimely death
of one of our sister workers. Every year thousands of us
are maimed.” Rose’s voice was our voice was my voice.

We followed Rose across the Lower East side hoisting her up
to speak. Rosie with her flaming red hair at the street meeting told us
the Governor ignited a commission to investigate.
All those meetings for five years she gave us hope telling us
the commissioners crawled through the tiny hole in the wall
to the steep iron ladder covered with ice, the factory’s only
fire escape, visited canneries where five-year olds snipped beans,
seven year olds shelled peas, saw machinery that
scalped women, cut men’s arms off. We followed her.

I was one of Rosie’s girls who helped leaflet for her meetings
every noon and evening telling our sisters and brothers
the legislator passed, the governor signed laws making it
safe to work. We walked the streets leafleting our people
in the factories and stores to speak up speak up until the sprinklers
were installed, fire escapes built up the sides of factory buildings,
the doors to the factories unlocked. My sorrow lessened,
still March 25 every year I take a bunch of daisies to
Evergreen Cemetery, lay it on the grave of a Triangle girl.

Julia Stein is the editor of the anthology Walking Through a River of Fire: 100 Years of Triangle Poetry (C.C. Marimbo).  She also has four previous books of poetry: Under the Ladder to Heaven, Desert Soldiers, Shulamith, and Walker Woman.

May Day, 2011, Chicago: A Time To Remember, A Time To Dream A New World

[On this, the 125th Anniversary of Haymarket, it is appropriate and exciting to find all the work being done to rededicate the monuments where the martyrs are buried.  We are delighted to share the list of activities shown below.  May Day is the time of year when workers celebrate, "the only truly universal day of all humanity," as Eduardo Galeano wrote in The Book of Embraces.  It is also the time of year when the workers movement comes together to evaluate where we are, and what are the tasks that face us.  It should be transparently clear that corporations, in the name of defending their private property, are slicing away all the gains made in this country since the first general strikes of 1876, the legacy of the end of the Civil War and the precursor to Haymarket.  Every great movement for human liberation in the United States can be traced back to these two fundamental processes:  the movement to overturn slavery and the workers' movement.  It is the singular characteristic of our time to see these two great torrents of liberation fuse in a desperate awakening of a new class ejected from public as well as private employment by bloodless, robotic technology. The end of the American Civil War was indeed a nodal point in our history, marked by a change from an agricultural to and industrial economy and reflected by a shift in political parties to the domination of the industrial and financial sectors in those parties.  It took another 70 years and two World Wars for the financial sector's domination to establish itself and another political party shift to take place.  Now, 150 years after the end of the Civil War, another nodal shift is taking place.  It has been a long, difficult process of technological innovation.  Many times before the utopian cry of productivity reducing the need for labor has been raised, only to be lost in the expansion of capitalism and new markets.  But what to do when the global market has been saturated and "demand" -- expressed in money available for purchase of commodities -- has dried up? When the electronic manifestations of workers that we call "robots" do not need clothes, housing or food?  These are the trenchant May Day 2011 discussions that need to be held as we evaluate the legislative attacks on workers throughout the country, emanating from what has become known as the rust belt.  May Day is time to think strategically! -- Lew Rosenbaum]

Schedule of May Day Activities

April 7 3:00 PM Gage Gallery 18 s. Michigan. Forum on 100th anniversary of Triangle Shirtwast Fire in New York. Textile organizing and unionization grow out of Chicago Struggle.

April 9th 3:00 Pm. Chicago Temple Washington and Clark. New New Deal Forum with John Conyers on Full employment legislation.

April 12 7:00pm Oak Park Public Library Forum on meaning of restoration of Haymarket Martyrs Monument in Forest Park.

April 27th 6:00pm. Haymarket Brewery and Pub at Randolph and Halsted . Film Screening of Sacco and Vanzetti

April 28th 5:30 pm Newberry library. Forum and debate and reception with labor movement lawyers the American Constitution Society and others discussing Haymarket to the present.

April 29th 5:30 pm Gage Gallery Reception for International Trade unionists and public and release of new publication of The Day Will Come by Mark Rogovin and viewing of his fathers photos, Milton Rogovin.

April 30th, 2pm. Plaque dedication at Haymarket Square at Randolph and DesPlaines by Illinois Labor History Society and re enactment of the Haymarket Tragedy at the site followed by gathering of all who wish to come to Haymarket Brewery at Halsted and Randolph.

May 1, 1 pm, World wide gathering to celebrate 125th anniversary of the Haymarket and the restoration of the Monument in Forest Park featuring AFL-CIO secretary Treasurer Liz Shuler and other dignitaries.

May 1, 7PM  Old Town School of Folk Music concert titled Music and Rebellion with Bucky Halker, his band, and some international groups. Tickets are 15 dollars.

Guild Complex Presents Palabra Pura: One Poet, One Poem Event

One Poet/One Poem Event with past Palabra Pura Readers and 2011 Curators
Date: Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Time: 7:30pm
Cost: Free
Location: La Bruquena, 2726 W. Division

Celebrating the past and looking toward the future, this cavalcade of readers will be a mix of past writers from PP’s six-year history and the dream team of guest curators creating this year’s exciting season. And it’s all happening at PP’s brand new venue, Humboldt Park’s La Bruquena. So come grab some food/drink, reminisce on past palabras and get a preview of what’s to come.

Appearing at Palabra Pura kick-off:

Eduardo Arocho

Beatriz Badikian

Roger Bonair-Agard

Cristina Correa

Carlos Cumpián*

Rafael Franco-Steeves*

Jorge Frisancho

Juana Goergen*

Gregorio Gomez

Irasema González

David Hernández*

Leon Leiva Gallardo

Miguel López Lemus

Olivia Maciel

Elizabeth Marino

Carmen Alicia Murguía

Bernardo Navia

Yolanda Nieves*

Raul Niño

Jennifer Patiño

Coya Paz

Xenia Ruiz

Jacob Saenz

Luis Tubens

Luis Humberto Valadez*

Febronio Zataraín

Journal Of Ordinary Thought: Plenty Of Napkins

[Earlier this month we posted an announcement of the release party for the current Journal of Ordinary Thought.  The title of this issue of the Journal, I Always Like Plenty Of Napkins, comes from the poem included below.]

And, from our next issue of the Journal of Ordinary Thought, “I Always Like Plenty of Napkins: JOT Writers on Food,” an excerpt:

Ramiro Rodriguez
St. Leonard’s House workgroup

The three people that I would like to
have dinner with are Salma Hayek,
my friend Daliq Tapia, who is in Abu
Dhabi right now, and Eva Mendez. It
would be a dream date!

First, they will sit me down, bringing
me a glass of water and plenty of napkins.
I always like plenty of napkins.

Then each of them will ask me what
I’d like to eat. So, I pick my most
favorite dish for my favorite person: I
tell Daliq to make a torta de carne
asada. I tell her to put her love,
trust, and confidence in the torta.

Then, I tell Salma to make me a salad
with plenty of cheese. I tell her to
put her admiration and affection in
the salad.

Lastly, I tell Eva to make me a cheesecake.
I tell her to put her compassion
and devotion in the cheesecake.

[The reading will be held Tuesday, March 15.  Click here for details]

Luis Rodriguez Reads Poetry Hull House Wednesday, March 16

March 16

5:30 PM Reception
6:00 PM Reading

Residents’ Dining Hall
800 South Halsted Street


Co-sponsored with The Poetry Foundation

Join us on March 16 for a special reading by activist and award-winning writer and poet,
Luis Rodriguez.

For the first time, Luis will recite a new poem commissioned by the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum for the Alternative Labeling Project, a new series that transgresses and challenges the way we think about objects and artifacts and the extraordinary stories they tell.

We are thrilled to be co-sponsoring this event with the Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine. Hull-House and the Poetry Foundation have a long history that begins with Harriet Monroe–American editor, scholar, literary critic, poet and patron of the arts–who founded Poetry magazine in 1912. Monroe lived as a resident at Hull-House for a short time, where she connected with Jane Addams and became one of Addams’ primary readers and literary peers. The two women also belonged to the Society of Midland Authors, an elite literary circle, which included important modern writers like Clarence Darrow, Hamlin Garland, Carl Sandburg, and Lorado Taft.

Luis J. Rodriguez is one of the leading Chicano writers in the country, with 14 published books in poetry, memoir, fiction, nonfiction, and children’s literature. His poetry has won the Poetry Center Book Award, the PEN Josephine Miles Literary Award, and the Paterson Poetry Book Prize, among other accolades. Always Running: La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A., his 1993 memoir of gang life, has sold more than 300,000 copies; it received the Carl Sandburg Literary Award and a Chicago Sun-Times Book Award, and was designated a New York Times Notable Book. His latest poetry collection, My Nature Is Hunger: New & Selected Poems, appeared in 2005 from Curbstone Press/Rattle Editions. Rodriguez helped found Chicago’s Guild Complex, Tia Chucha Press, and Rock A Mole Productions, which organizes arts festivals in Los Angeles. He is renowned for his work in gang intervention.

Can a common museum label—so often the omniscient voice that provides factual evidence that identifies artifacts and objects in a museum’s collection—sensually engage us, inspire revolution and reform, or provide pleasure and comfort?

Can a museum label be a poem, an essay, or piece of music?

The Jane Addams Hull-House Museum asks these questions in its new series of Alternative Labels that presents diverse voices and encourages visitors to view history from a fresh perspective.

We invited Luis Rodriguez, one of the country’s leading Chicano writers, the International Contemporary Ensemble, a vibrant, cutting-edge new music ensemble, and Terri Kapsalis, a writer and performer, to choose artifacts from our collection and compose labels that challenge and provoke. For the final part in the series, visitors will be invited to exercise their voices and participate by creating their own alternative label for an object in our collection.

These labels, non-traditional in format and presentation, will be placed throughout the museum over the next few months to provide alternative encounters that will introduce visitors in fresh ways to the extraordinary history of the Hull-House Settlement.

Co-sponsored with The Poetry Foundation

Journal Of Ordinary Thought: Winter 2011 Writing On Food


CONTACT: Hollen Reischer/ Assistant Director, Neighborhood Writing Alliance/ Editor, Journal Ordinary Thought

773-684-2742 /

The Neighborhood Writing Alliance is proud to present

“I Always Like Plenty of Napkins”

Winter 2011 Journal of Ordinary Thought

NWA Writers on Food


CHICAGO—The Neighborhood Writing Alliance (NWA) announces “I Always Like Plenty of Napkins,” the Winter 2011 issue of the Journal of Ordinary Thought. This food-themed issue features prose and poetry from Albany Park, Uptown, Chicago Lawn, Bronzeville, the Near West Side, Humboldt Park, and St. Leonard’s House. Photographs of Chicago’s food culture, taken by DePaul University students under the guidance of professor and photographer Jason Reblando, accompany the writing.

The beautiful 96-page journal features:

an introduction by Lisa Yun Lee, Director of the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum;

photographs of Chicago’s food scene taken by

DePaul University students taught by professor and photographer Jason Reblando;

and writing by over 60 NWA writers.

Read prose and poetry about food justice issues, food memories, and food culture:

  • “Too many fat kids going to

Too many burger joints, taco joints, pizza joints, fried fish joints, BBQ joints

Too many McDonald’s, Burger Kings, White Castles, Taco Bells…”

Christelle Evans

Hall Branch Library, Thursday Writing Group

  • “Years later, I remember sitting on the side of the bed when he was in a wheelchair, as together we ate Archway cookies, cheese, and Pepsi on ice.”

Jeanette Moton

Hall Branch Library, Monday Writing Group

  • “But a true Greek salad, a true horiatiki, is not of the Food Industrial Complex; it is of the village. In Greece, open-air markets are still alive and well. Every town has local growers who gather on the weekends to sell fresh produce to their neighbors.”

Stavroula Harissis

Albany Park Branch Library

NWA writers will present their work on Tuesday, March 15 from 6-8 p.m.

at the Jane Addams Hull House Museum Residents’ Dining Hall (800 S. Halsted).

Admission is free, and complimentary copies of “I Always Like Plenty of Napkins” will be available.

This location is handicap accessible.

The Neighborhood Writing Alliance is a Chicago-based not-for-profit that runs writing workshops for adults in low-income Chicago neighborhoods and publishes pieces from those workshops in its quarterly, award-winning publication, the Journal of Ordinary Thought. NWA presents the writers and their work in 25–30 events and readings each year. NWA workshops are free and open to adults of all levels of writing experience.


Video Of/About Wisconsin Demonstrations Against Scott Walker

There is no order to these videos.  More will be added as people send them to me or as I glean them from the web. Most recent added are at bottom of each section (Video and Text)

Video Links Solidarity video from Madison Todd Alan Price in Madison Todd Alan Price in Madison Young trade unionists in Maryland I am a teacher Noam Chomsky on Democracy Now Rachel Maddow – Poke A Badger In The Eye TRNN: Class Struggle in Wisconsin. Paul Jay interviews AFL-CIO leader Cheesehead rally, NYC 2/18/2011 Impromptu b-boying in the rotunda State Senator Lena Taylor: Teachers are in the house!  2/15/2011 Firefighters at the capitol — bagpipers!/jobswithjustice Jobs With Justice site follows the activities closely with video, photo and text Matt Wisniewski’s excellent video beautifully captures the mood.  He sets up shots from the rallies of 2/15-2/17 to a background of Arcade Fire’s “Rebellion (Lies)” The ED show (NY) calls on Democrats to have backbone, support workers (interesting clip of Ted Kennedy) The ED show from Madison Feb. 18 focuses on concessions made by workers, applauded by Democrats, and rejected by Scott Walker Matt Rothschild (The Progressive Magazine) talks with TRNN about the history of progressivism in Wisconsin and the current battle) Posted by Michael Shallal, Cabbies support the Madison demonstrators Rep. Gordon Hintz chews out his colleagues for trying to force the “Repair Bill” through Matthew Wisnewski’s part 2, Feb. 18 and 19, set to “The Cave” by Mumford and Sons Straightforward explanation about the situation surrounding the Wisconsin demos and the “Budget Repair Bill.” This is the first video by this 22 year old.  Hope to see a lot more Rachel Maddow drops some valuable Wisconsin and workers history to put things into perspective (then goes into her analysis, that this is all intended to give Republicans local and then national dominance in electoral politics): Todd Alan Price interviews, along with Luciano on camera (about one hour) Police officer testifies about the peaceful protests, Limbaugh and Fox News distortions Todd Alan Price for The Nation TRNN examines how cutbacks in public services/public workers is a phony solution Paul Jay (TRNN) proposes that Wisconsin’s billionaires should make some sacrifices too . . . In this video from New York’s Ed Notes, Ed Schultz conducts interviews at a protest rally in front of Fox News HQ.  The video ends with a brillian satirical speech, imploring the crowd to pity the poor, suffering billionaires. Whoops!  Cutting benefits may actually COST money . . . Substance News video of the Feb. 26 solidarity with Wisconsin demo.  Background: Utah Phillips sings Solidarity Forever TRNN sums up the struggle after the rally March 5, 2011 Two Weeks In Madison, a tribute video which is very effective Wisconsin Senate passes anti-collective bargaining bill  March 9, 2011

Music Pete Seeger and a “Solidarity Forever” video montage Tom Morello sings “World Wide Rebel Songs” and brings greetings from Cairo to Madison Tom Morello sings to a rally on the state Capitol Utah Phillips backs this video up with an especially sonorous Solidarity Forever Wayne Kramer is joined by Tom Morello and a bunch of others for jamming Kick Out The Jams

And Text and Non Video: Wisconsin Wave AAUP comments posted  on this blog Ohio threatens public workers Sherry Linkon & John Russo testimony re Ohio Matt Rothschild on Wisconsin wars Truthout: Wisconsinites rally 45 Best signs at the Capitol Capital Times: Walker’s budget aids cronies Walker rejects unions concessions Tracy Fuller, Exec. Director of the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Association regrets/repudiates endorsement of Scott Walker Dave Zirin calls on Green Bay Packer quarterback and shop steward, Aaron Rodgers to take a stand in Wisconsin Russ Feingold rallies workers in Madison Wisconsin uprising spreads to Indiana and beyond Walker’s statement shows the bill is not intended to solve the “economic crisis in Wisconsin” SEIU Local 721:  All eyes are on Wisconsin 12 things you need to know about the Wisconsin uprising (Alternet)!/album. Brett Jelinek’s extraordinary photo album of the rally Saturday, Feb. 19 From Cairo to Madison, Free Pizza!  Culinary solidarity in action West Virginia public workers rally in support of Wisconsin workers and to win rights for themselves This German source for news about labor in the US has a section on Wisconsin.  This blog is sourced there as well as other info. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder won’t pick fights with unions Indiana Democrat legislators follow the lead of their Wisconsin colleagues AFL-CIO reports that Indiana Republicans withdrew right=to=work legislation Iowans rally to support Wisconsin demonstrations NYT reports on battles in other states, catching Wisconsin fever Egyptian unions support Wisconsin protesters Rose Ann De Moro on refusing to make benefits concessions Garth Liebhaber’s photos in Madison highlight members of the Chicago Teachers Union Saturday, Feb 26 will be the last day demonstrators will be allowed to occupy the capitol building in Wisconsin — unless officials heed the advice of the police. Tom Morello, Madison, Frostbite and Freedom Missouri considering “right to work” Taxpayers Contribute Nothing To Public Employee Pensions Bill Glahn interviews Wayne Kramer of the MC5, archival story from The Big O with relevance for today Poet Brenda Cardenas reports from the scene and reflects on personal and political history This link is a restricted one and requires that you are “friends” with Lew Rosenbaum on facebook.   Nick Lampert, Aaron Hughes and Dan Wang appeal from Wisconsin. Anti collective bargaining passed by Wisconsin Senate

100th Anniversary: Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire

[ In previous posts on this blog, we've discussed this important event and the creative expressions that emanated from the tragedy (Poetry Anthology: Walking Through the River of Fire; Centenary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire; Julia Stein's Bibliography of Triangle Fire Poetry, Plays, Novels and Literary Criticsm).  The time is approaching when commemorations will be held throughout the country.  Workers United, the union that is the successor/descendant of the original garment workers unions of the 1911 era, holds annual events to commemorate the fire;  this year the union is hosting a web site that is collecting and sharing information on the activities around the country, as well as promoting the many events local to New York.  You can find that information at Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition. You will also find on that site a portal to a great deal of resource information on the fire and its consequences. The following post gives information just received from Leigh Benin, an author of a forthcoming book on Triangle.

In particular, however, we urge you in Chicago to save the date of April 7, 2011. On that date Chicago will be participating in these commemorations with two programs, one in the late afternoon at Gage Gallery of Roosevelt University (18 S. Michigan)  and in the evening at the 430 S. Michigan building of Roosevelt University (as part of the annual gala presented by the Working Women's History Project).  More information to follow shortly! -- Lew Rosenbaum]

In New York:  Save the Date

Thursday, March 3, 2011: 6:30 to 8:30 pm

Adelphi University Performing Arts Center

Arcadia Press new book on Triangle will be available Feb. 28, 2011.

Garden City, New York

Meet authors/film makers reception 5:30 to 6:30 pm

Light Refreshments

[To reserve seats for this free but ticketed event, RSVP to Rob Linne or Leigh Benin]

Remembering the Triangle Fire

An evening of film, talk, music, and theatrical performance

Sponsored by:

Adelphi University

The Education and Labor Collaborative

The Triangle Fire Families Association

Original Music by the Adelphi University Music Department

Film Preview: HBO’s soon to be aired documentary “Triangle: Remembering the Fire”

Panel Discussion of people featured in the film will be moderated by Roma Torre of NY 1

Daphne Pinkerson: Director and Producer

Michael Hirsch: Co-Producer

Bruce Raynor: President, Workers United

Katherine Weber: Author, Triangle

Leigh Benin, Co-Author, The New York City Triangle Factory Fire

Suzanne Pred Bass, Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition

Vincent Maltese, Triangle Fire Memorial Association, Inc.

Short Original Theatrical Performance by the AU Theater Department

Order the book by Leigh Benin, Rob Linné, Adrienne Sosin, & Joel Sosinsky here


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