On Sunday 5th October 2014 at mid day a gathering took place at the grave of Mother Jones at the Union Miners Cemetery at Mount Olive, Illinois. After some speeches and some songs from labour singer Len Wallace, the participants raised a toast in honour of Mother Jones. Irish Whiskey from Co Cork in the form of Jameson’s Redbreast was used and there followed a rousing rendition of “Solidarity Forever” after which many of the participants returned for the annual Mother Jones Foundation dinner at Springfield, Illinois later on Sunday night.
Attended by over 200 people, this annual dinner also heard a special message of greetings from the Cork Mother Jones committee.
According to Terry Reed, one of the event organisers;
“We hope this is the beginning of many more exchanges between our two groups as we are united in telling the world of the great lessons this grand champion of the working class spoke, took action and lived”
Terry also promised a film message from the Mother Jones Foundation for the 2015 Spirit of Mother Jones Festival.
State of Illinois Senator Andy Manar attended the Mother Jones gathering at Mount Olive on Sunday 5th October. He announced at the event that the State of Illinois had approved a grant for $41,000 towards the restoration of the grave site and monument of Mother Jones at Mount Olive. Senator Manar had also sent a wonderful message of solidarity to the Spirit of Mother Jones festival earlier this year (click link to view)
Already some $70,000 has been raised through the efforts of the trade union movement and the Illinois AFL-CIO thus ensuring that the full restoration of the grave site becomes a reality.
The Cork Mother Jones Festival Committee has received a warm message of support and encouragement from Illinois Senator Andy Manar.
Sen. Andy Manar
Senator Manar in a thoughful and positive message to the Cork Mother Jones Committee for the Spirit of Mother Jones festival states that “you have all my deepest respect for the work you have done on behalf of Mother Jones and I share in your admiration of this great woman from County Cork, Ireland”
“I believe your festival is wonderful as it attracts people from all over the world and stands tallest among other known Mother Jones Festivals. I’d welcome a similar event in my district. Your festival sets a very high bar for other to reach and you should be extremely proud of that”
Letter received from US Senator Andy Manar (D), Illinois
The Cork Mother Jones Committee acknowledges and supports the huge effort being made by the Unions, the Illinois Labour History Society and the Mother Jones Foundation to preserve and restore the monument over the grave of Mother Jones in Mount Olive cemetery. The restoration project will ensure that this monument over her final resting place will remain for ever as a fitting symbol of positive action for social justice which the spirit of Mother Jones inspires in thousands of people across the world.