The Blog

Bay Area Labor Festival This Weekend

I want to share this special chance to feel that "We Are One" union spirit once again, and to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. as well. This weekend, the 27th annual Western Workers Labor Heritage Festival commences at the Machinists' Local 1781 union hall, 1511 Rollins Road in Burlingame, near San Francisco International Airport. Spread the word, and these details about the labor workshops, films and concerts on tap. This three-day festival starts Friday night, Jan. 18, and honors Dr. King as a commemoration of the social justice, unity and economic change he stood for. He will be honored on Sunday width civil rights songs and other tributes.

Many of the festival organizers and supporters are from Bay Area unions. Their members stood shoulder to shoulder width CTA as we fought our election battles last year and worked phone banks in their union halls or welcomed them as we walked neighborhood voter precincts.

You may have read the Jan. 9 obituary in the San Francisco Chronicle about famed labor songwriter and folk musician Jon Fromer, one of the founders of this festival, who will also be honored width a benefit concert Sunday night for the inspiration and dignity for working people that his songs contained.

Workshops on Saturday and Sunday reflect the scope of the labor and human rights movements. They cover how communities can stand up against hatred, the power of Motown labor music, how to tell our stories through art and protest songs, and much more. Films are about a historic LAUSD walkout in 1968 by 20,000 Latino students, about the popular resistance movement in El Salvador, and the life and work of dedicated gay civil rights leader Bayard Rustin. A panel discussion of independent filmmakers will take place Sunday morning.

We all worked together to pass Proposition 30 against huge odds to give our schools and communities hope for a better future. We defeated Proposition 32 and its billionaire backers who tried to silence our political voices. This festival this weekend is about celebrating the powerful solidarity of all labor that led to those hard-fought victories.

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