Stella set off by truck mid-January for Michigan, with her diamond hardhat and bathroom shack, and sporting a new flannel shirt in MSU green under her Carhartt coveralls. I arrived two weeks later, greeted at the airport by John Beck, director of Our Daily Work / Our Daily Lives, co-sponsor of the exhibition at the Michigan State University Museum Main Gallery. A terrific student crew worked on the week-long installation.

The larger space allowed me to expand and add several new elements that heighten focus on institutional issues, including We Remember: tiles, memorabilia and history of tradeswomen whose deaths were work-related. Thanks to the many labor leaders and tradeswomen — Wisconsin, California, Washington, Ohio, Massachusetts, New York, British Columbia — who suggested names and helped with research and the emotional processing of some of the more difficult stories. I’ve added a We Remember page to this blog.

The highlights of course were the events, and the chance to meet and learn from Michigan tradeswomen and other activists from the building trade unions and the UAW. A poetry reading in Lansing was hosted by Ann Francis as a tribute to local tradeswomen (posted on youtube by peaced: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OkDOV3DgOdM). At the opening reception, tradeswomen from Boston, Detroit, Lansing and Cleveland gathered in the coffee break area.

On Equal Terms exhibits in East Lansing, MI, until May 13. Both Museum Director Gary Morgan and John Beck are glad for the gallery to be used as backdrop for discussions and events, or to host tours. Contact: beckj@msu.edu.

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