15th Annual Labor Seder
What makes it possible for people to move out of slavery and into liberation? What are the ingredients that go into a successful movement against economic injustice? What moves people to action and what gives people hope?
In the Passover story there were many people working together to strategize the coming out of Egypt and walking to liberation. There were Puah and Shifra, the midwives who refused to kill the Jewish newborn sons, there was Miriam who put her brother Moses in a basket so that he wouldn’t be killed. It was Bitya the daughter of Pharoah who lifted him from the basket and took him home, it was Jethro of Midian who took Moses in when he was fleeing those who wanted to kill him, it was Moses himself who answered God’s call to liberate the Jewish slaves. And then it was the hundreds of thousands of Jewish slaves who bonded together and had the courage to leave Egypt and walk into the sea and then into the desert, not knowing what the future would bring. There were many people from different backgrounds that played a role in the story of liberation.
Our 15th Annual Labor Seder was our most successful Labor Seder. More than 300 people attended—up by approximately 20 attendees the previous year. We raised almost they same amount of money as last year. Many people said that this was the best, most spirited Labor Seder ever.
This year we held our Labor Seder at IBEW 103. As in past years, elected officials, union presidents, Jewish community leaders, religious leaders, workers and students attended. Barbara led the Seder beautifully and we shortened the program at the request of several attendees. Almost everybody took home their Labor Seder Haggadah. We honored Mayor of Boston, Martin J. Walsh. He spoke movingly about the struggles of working people. We recognized these three campaigns: “Fight for $15”, Faculty Forward, and the Doubletree Workers Campaign. As it happened, the DoubleTree workers had just received a neutrality agreement from management, paving the way for a vote for UNITEHERE Local 26 to be there union representative.
Year after year the Labor Seder continues to be a unique and powerful event. Perhaps it is the compelling Passover story—one of liberation from oppression—which so closely parallels the current struggles of workers and affects people on a deep level. Perhaps it is the connection attendees build with people from different communities that makes this evening so magical. Perhaps it is also the joy of celebrating a diverse community’s shared commitment to economic and worker justice. It takes all of these pieces for the Labor Seder to be the successful and moving event that attendees come to expect year after year.