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MayWorks is here: It’s time to celebrate labor and our culture

dodson-lynne-13By LYNNE DODSON

(April 30, 2014) — Hooray, hooray for the month of May!

It’s MayWorks time again when we dedicate the month to music, movies, art, labor history. It’s our celebration of the creativity that inspires us to change what’s wrong to right, to create a better world, to find joy in the everyday, to fight for bread and roses, too!

We have a complete calendar of events at, starting with concerts by Anne Feeney and Evan Greer in Seattle tonight and Tacoma tomorrow night, movie nights in Bellingham and Seattle, APALA’s new art exhibit “Workers Voices,” and art and music throughout the month, culminating in Pierce County’s Hootenanny and Seattle’s film reception. (It’s not too late to submit your winning video for the contest by this Friday, May 2 Monday, May 12!)

MayWorks-banner-adThis year, MayWorks is working closely with the Hillman City Collaboratory — a wonderful new space dedicated to community and the arts. The Emerging Leaders Conference will be held there, with WA YELL hosting an evening event for participants. Beverly Naidus’ art students at UW Tacoma will have an exhibition at the space entitled “Help Wanted: Digital Art About Labor,” and a special children’s concert will honor the legacy of Pete Seeger.

AFT Washington is hosting “Labor’s Got Talent” on Friday, May 16 at the Executive Inn in Seattle. You can still sign up by emailing And of course, if you aren’t performing, please go to cheer on those who are sharing their talent.

Our AFL-CIO Central Labor Councils are celebrating MayWorks throughout the month. The Northwest Washington CLC starts us off this Friday, May 2 by presenting the film At the River I Stand, a moving documentary about Martin Luther King. Jr.’s last days supporting the Memphis sanitation workers strike. The M.L. King, Jr. CLC and the Snohomish CLC will celebrate MayWorks on their regular meeting nights (on the 21st and 29th, respectively — an hour before for MLKCLC). ThePierce County CLC is hosting a MayWorks Hootenanny on the Saturday, May 31, which will no doubt be a rousing good time!

We’re also fortunate to have so much amazing art this year. Not only the UW Tacoma students with digital labor art at the collaboratory, but also a labor mural workshop at the end of the month hosted by the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO. Stay tuned for more details soon.

There are more MayWorks events listed on the calendar, plus a MayWorks reading list of books on labor history and culture.

We’re very excited about the wealth of MayWorks activities this year; we’re sponsoring, supporting, or collaborating on nearly 50 events. Now it’s up to you to participate!

Lynne Dodson is Secretary Treasurer of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO.

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