Report from the NYC Triangle Shirtwaist Remembrance

Guest Post by Susan Davis, posted by Miryam Ehrlich Williamson

My friend Susan Davis, who lives and writes in New York, sent me this report on this monring’s Remember the Triangle Fire event.  I thought you’d like a firsthand report.

Susan is a member of UAW Local 1981, the National Writers Union.

Sunny day, but cold and windy. At least 500, maybe 750 people marched
from Union Square — the traditional place where workers have gathered
and protested since the 19th century — down B’way to the site of the
fire about 10 blocks away.  At the front of the march were all the
relatives of those who perished in the fire. A surprisingly large
contingent — probably 150. Some of them held poles on which had been
fastened old-fashioned shirtwaist blouses, with shashes with the name
of a person who died. Very moving. That was followed by another
contingent of more people holding the rest of the poles with
shirtwaists. Maybe another 150 people. Then there were a number of
contingents from a number of unions, including SEIU Local 1199, NYC
Laborers who carried their own signs with the names of the dead,
teachers unions, UAW and groups like a Jewish Labor group.

At the site on Washington St., the building where the fire took place
had funeral bunting draped on the floor where the fire took place, and
there were a number of large and small floral bouquets in front of the
building. The stage was the back of a large truck with a sign reading
“Workers united” signed SEIU at the top, and there was a large
jumbotron so that the crowd could see the presentations and the
speakers. (Very good sound system so everyone could hear.) Several
groups of singers and an acting troop performed before the main
program. I left soon after the program started. I would say the crowd,
which was tightly packed, numbered about 1,000 then, but people were
constantly coming and going because of the cold and because the sun
shifted and the site was in shade, which made it even colder.

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One Response to “Report from the NYC Triangle Shirtwaist Remembrance”

  1. Hoping that events like this will trigger in the heart and mind of our nation’s citizens the oft quoted sentiment that those who don’t learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them. Fight back, America. The labor movement has value still.

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