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Celebrate The 31st Annual “Bread And Roses Heritage Festival” In Lawrence, Massachusetts

18120_782706348516461_525256079870822911_nThe 31st annual Bread and Roses Heritage Festival is a FREE, open air, celebration of the ethnic diversity and labor history of Lawrence, Massachusetts, on the Campagnone (North) Common in Lawrence, from 11:30AM-6PM. It takes place in honor of the most significant event in Lawrence history: the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike.

Enjoy a day of musical, dance, and theatrical performances from a range of cultures. This is the region’s only true Labor Day festival. The day is full of fun, music, dancing, delicious food, helpful resources, and more!


WHAT:     Bread and Roses Heritage Festival

WHEN:     Labor Day, September 7, 2015, from 11:30AM-6PM

WHERE:   Campagnone Common, 200 Common St, Lawrence, MA

COST:       FREE



This year, we have again great participation by Labor:

Opening the Festival, at 11:30 a.m.: Ceremony at the Textile Workers’ Strikers’
Monument across from City Hall

Labor union representatives at Lawrence History Live, our popular speakers’ tent  (SEIU, Lawrence Teachers Union, MVCLC, North Shore Labor Council), presenting on current issues and job actions

New workshops on innovation and on alternative social and economic organizations,

Our Headline Performers 

  • Si Kahn Labor and environmental activist, singer-songwriter. Folk music. http://sikahn.com/
  • Bread & Puppet Theater One of the oldest, self-supporting, progressive theatrical companies in the country.   http://breadandpuppet.org/


  • O’Shea-Chaplin Irish Dancers, The Common Sage, Lisbeth Perdomo, Henry the Juggler, and more!


  • Beehive Collective The Beehive Design Collective is a wildly motivated, all-volunteer, activist arts collective dedicated to “cross-pollinating the grassroots” by creating images for use as educational and organizing tools. They work as word-to-image translators of global stories, shared through conversations with many communities http://beehivecollective.org
  • Community Corner In the tradition of the labor, free-speech, and civil rights movements, we are providing a soap box, open to all, to step up and have a voice.
  • Workshop Ten   The goal of these workshops are to provide new perspectives and strategies to address the problems that we face every day including; access to resources, social sustainability, economic alternatives, communication methods, and education efforts.
  • Family Activities   Food, walking and trolley tours, Kidz Zone with arts and crafts, storyteller, and pony rides

Join us!

breadandrosesheritage.org | facebook.com/BRHFestival | Twitter: @1912BreadRoses

Come Join The Labor Day Celebration At The Bread And Roses Heritage Festival


The 29th annual Bread and Roses Heritage Festival is a celebration of the ethnic diversity and labor history of Lawrence, Massachusetts. It takes place on Labor Day, Monday, September 2, 12-6 p.m., in honor of the most significant event in Lawrence history: the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike.

We memorialize the event with a variety of music and dance, poetry and drama, ethnic food, walking and trolley tours, and a section for history and labor organizations, as well as a speakers tent, all on Lawrence’s Campagnone Common.

Lawrence History Live, our speakers forum, features many labor contributors, on topics from the Ettor-Giovannitti Trial to labor artist Ralph Fasanella, as well as numerous union speakers, from the Lawrence Teachers’ Union to SEIU locals.

Bread and Roses is the only broadly multicultural festival in Lawrence, the Immigrant City. And it is the only festival in the region which celebrates Labor Day, in the most appropriate location, the site of the Bread and Roses Strike.

The festival is a one-day ‘open air’ celebration for the whole family. Lots of children’s activities: pony rides, jugglers, hula hoops, and face painting. – Join us on September 2, 12-6 p.m.!

Contact: Carmela Lanza-Weil carmela@breadandrosesheritage.org

Festival Phone: 978-794-1655


Facebook: Search “Bread & Roses Heritage Festival” 2013 Performers

(headliner and three others are union!)

Headliner: Marcia Ball – good-time blues piano and songs

Bread and Puppet – the political puppet theater company

Odaiko New England – Taiko Drummers

Emma’s Revolution – smart, funny, and informative

Ten Tumbao – funky and soulful Afro-Latin-Caribbean band

Charlie King and Karen Brandow – labor’s musical stoytellers and political satirists

Jose Luis Rodriguez and Guillermo Ortiz. . . and many more!

Labor Day March for Economic & Social Justice in Lawrence, MA.

Members of the Labor Community will be commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Bread and Roses Strike with a march from the Polartec Building (corner of Stafford and Broadway St. in Lawrence) to the Bread & Roses Festival on Monday, September 3rd. The March will be addressed by speakers from the Merrimack Valley Central Labor Council and the Lawrence Teachers Union at 10:45 and kick off at 11AM. Led by current textile workers, the march will feature workers from across Massachusetts working to preserve middle class jobs. The March arrives on the Common at noon.

The intention of the March is to mark the concerns about the pervasive unemployment in our community, the attacks on labor rights, and the erosion of good jobs. Unions are joining the march to take a stand for their members, friends, neighbors, and families.

The unveiling of the ‘1912 Textile Workers’ Strike Memorial’ will be held at 1:30 p.m.

“One hundred years ago, workers took a stand against the greed of the 1%.,” said Ethan Snow of UNITE-HERE’s New England Joint Board, “Today we are faced with a similar situation in Lawrence, and we too will take up the fight for current day Bread & Roses.”

Bread & Roses Labor Day Festival

The Bread and Roses Heritage Festival is a celebration of the ethnic diversity and labor history of Lawrence, Massachusetts. It takes place on Labor Day, Monday, September 3, 12 to 7 p.m., on Lawrence’s Campagnone Common, in honor of the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike.

Contact: Ethan Snow: 617.549.5240
Jennifer Doe: 978.420.9632

(see also Be a part of the Centennial Celebration of the Bread and Roses Strike)

Be A Part Of The Centennial Celebration Of The Bread and Roses Strike on Sept 3rd

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the Bread and Roses strike I wanted to share some information about their Centennial Labor Day celebration.

The 28th Bread and Roses Heritage Festival takes place on Labor Day, September 3, 12 to 7 p.m., on the Common in Lawrence, MA, in honor of the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike. It is a free, one-day ‘open air’ celebration for the whole family.

2012 Bread & Roses Festival Program Schedule:

This in 1912 from the textile journal Fibre and Fabric, on MA shortening the workweek for women and children from 56 to 54 hours.

Our top-line performers are
Lawrence-based Ryan Montbleau Band – folk, blues, funk

Bread and Puppet, the political puppet theater company

Si Kahn – singer/songwriter

A BesereVelt – The Yiddish Community Chorus of Boston Workmen’s Circle
(you tube below)

The Folk Song Society of Greater Boston, performing a Woodie Guthrie Tribute

Branco/Stamas Big Band
. . . and many more!

The Festival includes the unveiling of the new 1912 Textile Workers’ Strike Monument at 1:30 p.m.

A BesereVelt – The Yiddish Community Chorus of Boston Workmen’s Circle

Boston Workmen’s Circle A Besere Velt (A Better World) Yiddish Chorus, performs “Bread and Roses/Makhnes Geyen” at the Rosenberg Fund for Children’s “Celebrate the Children of Resistance” event in Boston, MA, June 19, 2007. The song is a ballad from the 1912 Lawrence, MA textile strike, woven together with an anthem dedicated to the fighters in the Spanish Civil War. “The masses are marching in the struggle for victory.” www.rfc.org

Bread and Roses Centennial Celebration

For those who may be interested on Saturday April 28th the Lawrence History Center will be hosting the Bread and Roses Centennial Symposium.  This will be a historical look back at the Bread and Roses Strike and what lead up to the strike.  Then after you can hear about what labor unions are working on now.  AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka will speak.  If you have never had the opportunity to hear Pres Trumka speak it is worth the drive to Lawrence.  
 You can also take a guided tour from the Lawrence Historical Center highlighting some of the key strike spots at 10:30 am and 1:30 pm

All the Wanted Was Bread and Roses….

Tomorrow (1/12/12) is the 100th anniversary of the famous “Bread and Roses” Strike.  This is one of the most famous strikes in our Labor History.  The Bread and Roses strike was one of the first labor strike that brought Nation wide attention to some of the oppression occurring in the garment industry.  This also came less than one year after the Triangle Shirt Waist fire in New York.  Labor Unions were still in their formative years but workers were starting to understand that together they could make changes if they stood together.

After the Massachusetts Legislature lowered the maximum working hours for women and children from 56, to 54 the workers were pushed to complete more work in less time with less pay.  The workers decided that this was not acceptable.  They walked out.  They stood on the cold streets of Laurence for over two months.  Most of the people who were on strike were women and young children.  Like the Triangle fire most of the workers were 14-18 year old girls.  These young women went in front of Congress and this is where legislators began to see the struggles of these women.

It was not long after Congress began passing laws to protect workers.  They created minimum age for workers among many other laws.  So tomorrow remember the women and children who helped start a labor revolution.

Here is a link to the Bread and Roses celebration and below is a great Editorial that compares the Bread and Roses strike to the Occupy Wall Street Protesters. 

Celebrate the Bread & Roses Centennial! | Bread and Roses Centennial: “Join us on January 12, 2012 at 9 am at the Everett Mill (15 Union St. Lawrence, MA) for the kickoff of the Bread & Roses Centennial. A brief reenactment will begin at the Everett Mill at 9am and a procession will be led by a flag carrier to Lawrence City Hall where a Mayroal proclamation will be read, the city hall bell will be rung, the flag will be raised, and the Lawrence High School Girl’s Ensemble will sing “The Internationale”. The Lawrence History Center will then open the exhibt “Short Pay! All Out!: The Great Lawrence Strike of 1912” at 10am at the Everett Mill. “

‘Bread and roses’ still resonates – Opinion – The Boston Globe: “ONE HUNDRED years ago tomorrow, thousands of angry textile workers abandoned their looms and poured into the frigid streets of Lawrence. Like Occupy Wall Street in our own gilded age, this unexpected grassroots protest cast a dramatic spotlight on the problem of social and economic inequality. In all of US labor history, there are few better examples of the synergy between radical activism and indigenous militancy.

The work stoppage now celebrated as the “Bread and Roses Strike’’ was triggered, ironically, by a Progressive-era reform that backfired. On Beacon Hill, state legislators had just reduced the maximum allowable working hours for women and children from 56 to 54 hours per week. When this change went into effect, workers quickly discovered that their pay had been cut proportionately, and their jobs speeded up by the American Woolen Company and other firms.

The strike that started on Jan. 12, 1912 created political tremors far beyond the Merrimack Valley. It forced a vigorous national debate about factory conditions, child labor, the exploitation of immigrants, and the free exercise of First Amendment rights during labor disputes.”

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