Labor and Labor Day: Upcoming Talks and Events in NYC

By Alison Durkee

Labor Day is around the corner, giving New Yorkers one last chance to celebrate the summer before fall arrivesand also reminding us of the importance of America’s workforce. Whether you’re interested in celebrating the holiday by honoring its message or just having one final weekend of summer, here are some upcoming events to mark the occasion.

David Berkowitz/Flickr

Those simply wanting to get out in the city Labor Day weekend have plenty of special events to enjoy. Celebrate the city’s Caribbean population by enjoying the New York Caribbean Carnival Parade September 3 and a full weekend of West Indian American-centered events, or celebrate Brazilian Day in the city’s “Little Brazil” neighborhood (near Times Square) on September 2. Arts lovers can head downtown for the Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit, which will take place all weekend, or head to Lincoln Center for outdoor screenings from the Metropolitan Opera. For something a bit more off the beaten path, take the ferry to Governors Island, where the NYC Unicycle Festival will take place September 1 and 2.

If you’d rather spend your Labor Day focused on the actual reasons behind the holiday, meanwhile, get out with Big Onion Tours on their Labor History walking tour September 3. The tour, which focuses on the East and Central Village from Washington Square Park to Union Square, will explore the workers and labor movement essential to New York’s history. Outside of Labor Day, walkers can also learn more about the immigrants who have historically made up much of the city’s labor force on the Immigrant New York walking tour, which is offered throughout August and September.

For more on today’s immigrant workforce, join NYU scholar Roy Germano September 13 for a discussion on how the money sent home by working immigrants contributes to the stability of developing countries. For a cinematic look, the Museum of the Moving Image hosts Workers of the World: Immigrant Labor on Screen, a series of films screened between August 31 and September 2. Of course, a major economic issue faced at home by the working class is housing; the Museum of the City of New York will look more at the city’s housing crisis and the economics behind it at a talk October 3.

America’s working class includes large swaths of the country’s more marginalized populations, and in honoring workers for Labor Day, it’s also important to examine social justice and these groups’ civil rights. An August 30 talk at the 92nd Street Y will examine race and justice in America’s court system, while a September 6 talk at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture will explain health care movements in black and Latino populations and how communities have advanced health in the face of racism.

The plight of women, meanwhile, will be the focus of an Activist Women walking tour September 6 exploring the influential women of New York’s past. Women of New York’s present, meanwhile, can learn how they can take action and change the world at a 92nd Street Y event September 13. To discover how activism and these social justice efforts can make a difference, head to a talk on Revolting New York September 8, which will explore how New York has been shaped by a history of riots, revolts, and revolutions.


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