Sunday, February 27, 2011

Women and Unions

Friday the snow had gone, but so had the sky, and nothing taller than a young tree was visible. The morning rainy gray was dismal, but in the late afternoon the gray had softened to something silkier, a Manhattan silver light, and walking to the store for milk felt like it was beyond here, someplace where they hadn’t yet forgotten the smell of cool fresh air.

But Saturday!

First off, 11 a.m., Robin Berson and I went to the rally in the sunshine for Wisconsin at City Hall Park, at least 10,000 people, and no news coverage at all, lest the simmering unspoken longing for unions be given a spark. It’s getting its spark, not to worry. Things will be happening. Thank you, Tunisia, thank you Egypt. Thank you Democratic senators who walked out in Wisconsin. Thank you labor movement that created a middle class in the United States and gave hope and sustenance to untold millions.

1 p.m. to another huge rally, in Foley Square for Planned Parenthood, women’s health and reproductive rights, concern for babies AFTER they are born. The cost of caring for premature babies will now far out-strip the federal money allegedly saved. We'll return to dangerous illegal abortions, as many as are now safe. Who or what have we become in this country?

Sunday, today, so relevant to both those rallies, RB and I went to the Shirtwaist Sewing Circle, organized by the Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition. I heard about it from Susan Dessel, who heard about it from her friend, who read about it…. Imagine if Triangle had had a union instead of a sweatshop. There were, I don’t know, 25 people in this wondrous house in East Harlem, cutting, sewing, decorating, drawing, gearing up for the 100th anniversary commemoration of the Triangle fire, March 25th. Unions, women’s rights, the week-end. (17 men too among the 146 victims of the fire). Here’s the website:

I have no drawings about any of these things, but many about things toppling, barely holding on.

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