Mother Jones Wreath-Laying Launches DC LaborFest

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Mother Jones Wreath-Laying Launches DC LaborFest(Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO)

“Mother Jones always said that ‘The first thing is to raise hell,” Saul Schniderman reminded the small crowd gathered in Silver Spring Thursday to commemorate the feisty labor icon’s birthday and kick off the DC LaborFest. “She said ‘That’s always the first thing to do when you’re faced with an injustice and you feel powerless.’” Schniderman, founder of the Labor Heritage Foundation and president of the Library of Congress Guild (AFSCME Local 2910), led spirited renditions -- along with other members of the DC Labor Chorus -- of “Which Side Are You On” and “Solidarity Forever” to celebrate International Workers Day and officially launch the first-ever DC LaborFest, a month-long celebration of labor arts through films, music, poetry, art, literature and history, expanding the existing DC Labor FilmFest, which is in its’ 14th year. David Kameras of the United Mine Workers described Mother Jones' personal attachment to the mineworkers, noting that she's buried in a miner's cemetery in Illinois, and Leslie Tolf of UnionPlus -- which provided the wreath for the ceremony -- called herself "a spiritual daughter" of Jones, showing off her "ass-kicking" cowboy boots. Dozens of LaborFest events – many of them free – exploring the lives and concerns of working people are planned for May; click here for the complete schedule. “Mother Jones also insisted that ‘I'm not a humanitarian, I'm a hell-raiser,’” Schniderman added, as he laid a wreath at the Mother Jones marker on Powdermill Road. 


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