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Celebrating Mother Jones in Chicago

Brendan McKinney. Photo by Elliott Gorn

We loved seeing the packed house at the Irish American Heritage Center for our Mother Jones May Day Birthday Party--the biggest one yet. Brendan McKinney set the tone for the annual event with a rousing bagpipe solo. From there, we were treated to performances by virtuoso musicians such as world renowned fiddler Liz Carroll and and Irish Traditional Band consisting of Brendan McKinney, Siobhan McKinney and Jim Dewar. They performed tunes that Mother Jones would have heard in her early years in Cork, as well as in Chicago of the nineteenth century. Kathy Cowan sang two songs, "James Connolly, the Union Man," and "School Day's Over."

Jim Dewar, Liz Carroll, Brendan McKinney, Siobhan McKinney. Credit: Elliott Gorn
Sarah Keating. Credit: Elliott Gorn

Sarah Keating, Ireland's Vice Consul to Chicago and the Midwest, assured us that Mother Jones and our statue will elevate the role of immigrant women in the Irish diaspora.

Sarah Bowden, Northwestern University, member of United Electrical Workers. Credit: Elliott Gorn

We heard from Sarah Bowden, a Northwestern University graduate student union representative, tell about the campaigns for unionization at Northwestern and University of Chicago. She told us of the overwhelming pro-union sensibility of her cohorts, and drama of standing up for rights in higher education.

Brigid Duffy performed Mother Jones and the March of the Mill Children to rousing applause and shouts of "fight for the living."

Karen White, whose mother was a teacher-activist and whose father was arrested 25 x during the Detroit Newspaper Strike in the 1990s, Credit: Elliott Gorn

Karen White, deputy executive director of the National Education Association gave a speech that connected the March of the Mill Children to current attacks on public education. You can listen to it below.

Kathy Cowan and SAG_AFTRA singers. Credit: Elliott Gorn

Kathy Cowan and the SAG-AFTRA singers led us in a rousing rendition of Solidarity Forever,

e are so grateful to the performers who donated their services, which allowed us to raise funds for the statue campaign.

Photos by Elliott Gorn

Bakers Local 1 came through again with a delicious cake from Vasecky's Bakery. Vasecky's is an old bakery that was around in Mother Jones' day. It served 300 people and not a piece was left over.

Thanks to those who donated ads for our booklet. We will be sending out booklets to all who have donated. Please see the ads below from those who were so generous.

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Karen White's speech:

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