Sandy Ellis – Oregon Oral History Program – Featured Interview

S.Ellis

Sandy Ellis (1987)

Sandy Ellis taught school for fifteen years before being elected President of the Oregon Education Association (OEA) at the age of 36. She led the OEA through important changes including implementation of affirmative action and a merger with classified employees. Ellis provided leadership at both the local and state level.

Now listen to excerpts from her oral history conducted by the Oregon Labor Oral History Program.

For more information about sponsoring an oral history or to volunteer for interviewing, research, or transcribing contact former Oregon PNLHA VP Carolyn Matthews matthews.carolyn.k@comcast.net or trustee Jim Strassmaier strassj@spiritone.com.

Oregon trustee’s band releases free EP

Monday Morning Denial coverEugene-based Oregon trustee Nathan Moore and partner Kate Dowling have released Scoundrels That We Are, a five-song extended play digital recording.

The EP will be “To the delight of clock-punchers, sleepy-eyed wage slaves, and rabble-rousing folk fans everywhere,” says a news release.

Nathan and Kate recorded the EP as Monday Morning Denial, “Oregon’s ‘working class folk’ duo.” Topics discussed in the songs include 19th century anarchism, the Great Depression, fishing, gentle parenting, and the founding of the ILWU.

The EP is available as a free digital download on Bandcamp, an online music site that provides a platform for independent artists: http://mondaymorningdenial.bandcamp.com/releases .

Remembering BC working people

lhc-021-1024x446-compressorThe British Columbia Labour Heritage Centre is inviting people to participate in its latest project, “Remembering Working People: Plaques Around the Province Project.”

Project goals: identify and catalogue existing memorials and install a new series of cast bronze plaques documenting events, actions, episodes, movements, experiences, groups, individuals or places that have not been recognized to date.

“This is an exciting project that will increase public awareness of the history of working people in British Columbia in a permanent way,” LHC chair Ken Novakowski said.

The LHC is reaching out to as many labour and community groups as possible to fulfill these goals. The focus is on BC regions outside the urban centers and anyone can submit a nomination.

View the project website: www.labourheritagecentre.ca/patp . Contact project manager Donna Sacuta: plaques@labourheritagecentre.ca .

 

Publishing opportunity on grassroots organizing

front-page-logoThe International Leadership Association (ILA) invites submissions on the theme Grassroots Leadership & the Arts for Social Change for a volume in its Building Leadership Bridges series.

“The series captures the best contemporary thinking about leadership from a diverse range of scholars, practitioners, and educators working in the field of leadership studies.” Emerald Group Publishing will publish the book in March 2017.

Send a 250-word abstract with cover letter by Dec. 1, 2015, to ILA Communications Director, Debra DeRuyver dderuyver@ila-net.org . Subject line: BLB 2017 Grassroots Leadership and the Arts.

Concert stresses cross-movement links

Feeney performs; Lyons in background

Feeney on stage with Lyons in background

on stage

PNLHA members attended a musical event in Springfield, OR, July 18 designed to encourage cooperation between social movements, particular trade unions and environmentalists.

Billed as “a night of solidarity of environmental and labor activist, the 50-75 attending the event clapped, and sang along to some of the old movement favorites modified to suit the theme of the “Teamsters & Turtles – Together at Last” tour.

Labor singer Anne Feeney told the audience that the idea for the tour grew from her experiences as a participant in the 1999 Seattle protests against the World Trade Organization.

SEIU singers 1

SEIU Local 503 singers

The show featured Feeney and Dana Lyons, called the environmental movement’s minstrel, with warm-up performances by the Eugene Raging Grannies and the SEIU Local 503 singers. Many of the songs, including the labor anthem Solidarity Forever, were inspired by labor history events. Visit http://www.annefeeney.com and http://www.cowswithguns.com for more on Feeney and Lyons.

Eugene Raging Grannies

Eugene Raging Grannies

Proceeds from the event will go to the Civil Liberties Defense Center’s Backbone Campaign to run the “Next Generation Action Camp,” a week-long training workshop for youth 14 to 18.

The workshop is intended to “empower youth around the region by providing age-appropriate training and mentoring for future social justice and climate justice organizers and activists,” said a leaflet at the event. To donate or register visit: http://cldc.org/2015/02/20/2015-camp/ .

For more on Dana Lyons’s environmental music and a delightful animated version of his Cows With Guns theme song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5s5qGg01nE For Eugene’s Raging Grannies: http://www.raginggrannieseugene.com/home.html .

Oregon trustees talk roots music on KBOO

Nathan and Kate in concertThe Low Tide Drifters, Eugene’s premiere roots band, were the subject of a half-hour discussion about their music, their passions, and their labor-oriented politics on Portland radio station KBOO’s Old Mole Variety Hour.

Oregon trustee Nathan Moore, his partner Kate Dowling, and Chico Schwall joined host Norm Diamond, another Oregon trustee, for a lively and informative talk punctuated by some of the group’s best-known tunes performed live on air.

Listen to the July 6 broadcast here: http://kboo.fm/lowtidedriftersunderdogfolkmusic . For a further taste of LTD’s “underdog folk music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=10&v=1au_STyB2IY .

Member publishes fifth labor history mystery

Stoner coverOregon PNLHA Member Susan Stoner’s new Sage Adair labor history mystery, Dead Line, will be launched July 23, 2015.

“Sage Adair is slightly bored as he’s between missions for labor leader, Vincent St. Albyn,” says the promotional literature. “Things liven up when an arch enemy demands that Sage travel to Central Oregon to prevent a range war.

“Made an offer he’s afraid to refuse, Sage soon finds himself in the high desert, dodging bullets. To prevent injustice, innocent deaths and solve two murders, he teams up with a cast of characters who reflect the multicultural reality of the early 1900’s American West.

“Gypsies, Indians, Jewish traders, Irish sheepmen, German homesteaders, Missouri cowboys and others, all give life to a little-known, but colorful historical incident in Central Oregon’s history.”

Stoner’s books are published by Portland’s Yamhill Press, http://www.yamhillpress.net , and available at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0990750906 . View the PNLHA interview available at pnlha.org.

Washington State Labor Council Reprises MayWorks Washington: A Month-Long Festival of Labor Culture and History

MayWorks Washington is a month-long festival throughout the month of May celebrating labor culture and history in Washington State. Festival events also focus on working class issues and labor arts such as music, poetry, photography, dance, drama, and the visual arts. In 2012, delegates at the Washington State Labor Council’s annual convention voted to work to raise their voices – to start a tradition of MayWorks, a festival of workers’ art and culture. Riffing on the theme of “Bread and Roses” to celebrate the centennial of the pivotal strike of 1912, our first MayWorks celebration occurred throughout the state that year. Venues included the Labor Education & Research Center at South Seattle Community College, the 2012 conference of the Pacific Northwest Labor History Association, and the Northwest Folklife Festival which showcased workers’ art and culture with concerts, art exhibits, a contest for short videos of 3-5 minutes, oral history presentations, and a variety of workshops and performances. Audiences were engaged with the meaning and value of the role that workers and unions play in our everyday lives and the culture of our communities.

The PNLHA Annual Conference and Kick off Event are actually part of MayWorks 2015 as well, find out more about them here! The MayWork Committee is always trying to add more events–if you are in Washington, consider adding your own labor event in May to the calendar!

Further resources: