SEATTLE (Oct. 19, 2015) –If you’ve been to a labor protest, picket line or other union mobilization in Western Washington, there’s a good chance you’ve heard the Seattle Labor Chorus. This year, these cultural emissaries of the area’s labor movement are celebrating their 18th year of raising hearts and hopes in the struggle for equal rights, jobs and justice.
And this week, the Seattle Labor Chorus is launching a campaign to reach out to local unions in the Greater Seattle area to offer to bring their voices to more labor events in the coming year, and to ask for financial support to continue serving as an important cultural voice in the state.
“Labor is literally our middle name and unions are the basis and chief beneficiaries of our work,” reads a fundraising letter from Labor Chorus members Sue Moser and Dianne Morrison. “Imagine a meeting without musical entertainment, a rally with no protest songs, a picket line without our singing faces, inspiring more and more folks to take up the cause.”
TAKE A STAND — Please send your generous contributions to the Seattle Labor Chorus, P.O. Box 17961, Seattle, WA, 98127-1954. For more information, or to inquire about having the chorus perform at your event, email them or call 206-524-7753.
Past contributions have made it possible for the chorus to mobilize members at union gatherings, perform to rousing crowds at the Northwest Folklife Festival, bring life to marches and picket lines, and “high-note” keynote speakers at union conferences. For example, here’s a list of just some of the rallies and meetings that featured Seattle Labor Chorus performances in the past year:
No More NAFTA’s-Stop the TPP; Walmart workers-Making a Change in Lynnwood; UNITE HERE Local 8-Grand Hyatt; UFCW-Macy’s Workers; a benefit for the Ballard Food Bank; APWU Staple’s Protest; the New Sanctuary Movement at the ICE Detention Center in Tacoma; rallies to support Sakuma Farmworkers; and SAFE-Standing Against Foreclosure and Eviction.
The chorus was a part of the celebrations of the Abe Keller Peace Education Fund, the life and work of Mike Yarrow, Chris Beahler and Lonnie Nelson, the International Woman’s Day March and Musical Brigade, and a Christmas Truce commemoration. They provided the music for the performance of Jean Rohe, book releases by Mike Honey and Steve Early, the “Red Renewal” Film Festival to kick off MayWorks, a Mother Jones presentation, a UW School of Social Work presentation of “Inequality for All,” a Labor History Program in Song for Ida B Wells Alternative High School, the Singing for Justice! Benefit for the Community Alliance for Global Justice, and at the Bainbridge Island Farmer’s Market (and on the ferry ride over there!)
That’s all in addition to its 19th annual performance at the Northwest Folklife Festival Labor Stage and its 16th annual Sing Along, which had record attendance this year. Here is the Seattle Labor Chorus performing “Tu Cantar,” a song from Canto Nuevo movement from Chile, with Vancouver’s Solidarity Notes at a recent Folklife Festival.
But the Seattle Labor Chorus needs financial assistance to continue. Due to the nature of their work, they often donate their services to groups in need. However, they must pay for their operating expenses, including instrument and equipment costs, stage and rental fees, materials and transportation, and a salary for their talented director, Janet Stecher.
All union organizations and rank-and-file members are urged to consider contributing to the Seattle Labor Chorus and to contact them if you want their inspiring voices on a picket line or at another event.