·  by Scott Marshall, SOAR Executive Board Member, District 7

District 7 SOAR holds Annual Commemoration of 1937 Republic Steel Memorial Day Massacre

On May 19, SOAR Chapter 31-9, supported by USW District 7 and SOAR, held our annual commemoration of the 1937 Republic Steel Memorial Day Massacre in South Chicago.

On Memorial Day 1937, Republic Steel workers, with families and supporters, marched peacefully to the plant gates; demanding union recognition and a contract for “Little Steel.” They were met by Chicago police officers hired by Republic Steel, who opened fire killing ten marchers. Many more marchers, including children, were wounded and beaten resulting in serious injuries.

This year’s event featured a rally and march. Steelworkers were joined by District 7 Director Mike Millsap, Poor Peoples Campaign Illinois leader Rev. Saeed Richardson and community leaders. The rally took place at the former USW Local 1033 hall; right across the street from where the massacre took place. Also featured were two George Washington High School students, reading their winning contest essays about the Massacre and its impact on labor today. Each winner was awarded a $500 dollar college scholarship.

Vic Storino, the last President of Republic Steel Local 1033 said, “We will never forget the heroic efforts of these marchers for our union and for the labor movement.” The rally and march ended with flowers being placed on the local monument of the ten; lead by District 7 Women of Steel activists.

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