2011 Laborfest set for August 25 – 27

Press release from our friends in Labor:


A public festival to promote Oklahoma Labor History, Diversity, and Civil Rights through music, film, poetry and visual art.

Oklahoma City, OK-Oklahoma’s largest coalition of labor unions and labor activists, the Central Oklahoma Labor Federation (COLF), today announced its plans for the second annual “Oklahoma Laborfest.” After several planning committee meetings of union members and labor advocates, COLF President Tim O’Connor today unveiled the purpose and framework of the festival.

“The purpose of this festival is to create greater awareness of Oklahoma’s working class culture and to build pride in the state’s rich Labor and Civil Rights history through music, the arts, and camaraderie” said O’Connor.

“Our youth should know about Oklahoma labor and civil rights heroes like Kate Barnard and Pete Hanraty, Les Brown and Clara Luper. They should know our state motto ‘Labor Omnia Vincit’ which means ‘Labor Conquers All.’ We should appreciate Oklahoma’s history of fighting for workers’ rights. Also with the vote to repeal affirmative action, State Question 759, from our state constitution, we should remind ourselves and our legislators of our civil rights history in Oklahoma.”

O’Connor continued, “Unfortunately this history is not being taught to our children today and we run the risk of it being forgotten. With this festival we intend to promote labor literacy and our fight to defeat State Question 759 among the general public in order to preserve this history and strengthen labor solidarity with all communities in the state of Oklahoma.”

Oklahoma Laborfest will be a 3-day festival and will kick off with a labor poetry reading at the OKC Downtown Library (46th Star Auditorium) 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. on August 25th. On Friday, August 25th there will be a screening of the movies ‘Salt of the Earth’ and ‘Matewan’ at Convergence Collective Space (1755 N.W. 16th) from 5:30 – 9:30 p.m. Multiple events are planned on August 28thand include a kick off march and rally for workers and civil rights. The march will be staged at 1501 Classen Blvd. (Catholic Charities parking lot). Live music on the Solidarity Stage (across from the Lyric Theatre on N.W. 16th) will include performances by J.D Thompson, MoonSue, Vagarant, Dead Man’s Bluff, and Maw. Other events on the 28th will include two Live Paints – one sponsored by Standing Buffalo Gallery of Norman featuring Cole Cathey (Seminole), Micah Wesley (Creek/Kiowa), and Dylan Cavin (Choctaw), and the other performed by Oklahoma Capital muralist Carlos Tello. Workshops will be held throughout the day on the 28th on such topics as using social media to organize, creating online activity for Laborfest, and a Workers Writing Workshop. Many other activities are scheduled throughout the afternoon in three different venues. Food and information vendors will be available all day.

Oklahoma Laborfest will culminate in a performance entitled ‘Oklahoma Speaks’ at the Lyric Theatre on the evening of Saturday, August 27th. This is the second year for this event because last year’s performance was so successful. It is modeled after the late historian Howard Zinn’s production ‘The People Speak’ and includes dramatic readings of selected historical texts from Oklahoma’s labor and civil rights movement and musical performances of songs connected to these movements. The performance is under the direction of Rachel Jackson, University of Oklahoma, who researches and selects the readings. The musical selections are under the direction of Mary Catherine Reynolds and Louise Goldberg. Other musical performers include Peggy Johnson and Beatrice Cole.

All Oklahoma Laborfest events are free and open to the public – paid for by local unions and private donors. For more information and the schedule of events, please visit www.oklahomalaborfest.org or the Oklahoma Laborfest Facebook page.


Look for the Peace House table, and participation in the march and rally.