JWA News Release: February 8, 2011
Contact: Ann F. Lewis, Chair, (240) 381-6672.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jewish Women’s Archive Commemorates 100th Anniversary of Triangle Waist Factory Fire
Event to Remember the Lives Lost and Celebrate Jewish Women Activists Past and Present
Ruth Abram, Kate Frucher and Lynn Sherr to Receive Jewish Women Living the Legacy Award March 13, 2011, New York City
NEW YORK—February 8, 2011—One hundred years ago, 146 died during the Triangle Waist Factory fire. The tragedy led to dramatic changes in factory working conditions and provided a much needed rallying point for the labor movement in the United States. The Jewish Women’s Archive will mark the centennial by commemorating the loss and celebrating the strides taken before and after the fire to expand workers’ rights, women’s rights, and human rights with the presentation of the first Jewish Women Living the Legacy Awards at the New York City Fire Museum on March 13, 2011.
“The Triangle fire was a landmark in the fight for social justice in the United States,” said Ann Lewis, chair of the event and member of the JWA Board of Directors. “The women who died on that day were working for their chance of a better life – a chance that was denied them. But we also see the heroic figures of union organizers Clara Lemlich and Rose Schneiderman, progressive leader Belle Moskowitz, and the countless other women who renewed their dedication to building a better world after the fire. We are reminded that our place today is built by the work of Jewish women leaders and that the next generation has a strong foundation, thanks to our honorees.”
During the event, JWA will present the Living the Legacy Award to Ruth J. Abram, co-founder of the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, Kate Frucher, an attorney turned entrepreneur whose work spans the business and non-profit sectors, and Lynn Sherr, an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning news correspondent covering women’s issues and social change.
The event will also feature the launch of a walking tour of historic sites associated with the fire, including the former home of the Forward newspaper, the NYU building that housed the Triangle factory in 1911, and Washington Square Park, where 150,000 mourners began their memorial march. An interactive online self-guided tour, with a map, detailed descriptions, and directions, is available on the Jewish Women's Archive website
“This event allows the Jewish Women's Archive to bring history to life not only by commemorating this tragedy but by honoring those who remember the past, those who shine light on the present, and those who fight for our future,” said Gail Reimer, Executive Director of JWA. “By taking the time to remember those who were lost 100 years ago and to honor those like Ruth, Kate and Lynn, we are highlighting the active role Jewish women have played in building our society and safeguarding our rights.”
This event and award are just one example of JWA’s commitment to telling the story of Jewish women and the fight for social justice; another is Living the Legacy, a new online social justice curriculum. This JWA multi-media program utilizes primary sources to explore the role of American Jews in the Civil Rights Movement. Educators working in both formal and informal settings around the country are using these materials with students from eighth through twelfth grade.
For more information about this event, full biographies of the honorees, and information on the Triangle Walking Tour, please visit jwa.org/triangle.
About the Jewish Women's Archive
The mission of the Jewish Women's Archive is to uncover, chronicle, and transmit to a broad public the rich history of North American Jewish women. A national non-profit organization founded in 1995 and headquartered in Brookline, Massachusetts, JWA creates and disseminates educational materials, provides professional development for educators, sponsors public programs, and maintains a dynamic website. Through web exhibits, online collection projects, and oral histories, JWA shares the stories, struggles, and achievements of North American Jewish women spanning many generations.