“A Few Sat Down to Lift All”


Flint- Union Orchestra          Flint Fisher Body Plant Union Orchestra (1937) (UAW Archives)

This Saturday, September 2nd, a special Labor Day Weekend Meeting of The Oakhurst Democratic Club takes place at Best Western Plus Yosemite Gateway on Highway 41.

This presentation celebrates the American Labor Movement with “A Few Sat Down to Lift All – The Rise of the American Middle Class” – featuring a one-time screening of “The Great Sit Down” — a short film including rare archival material made available through the courtesy of UAW Solidarity House in Detroit.

Oakhurst resident Peter Cavanaugh will provide a brief narrative. Cavanaugh was honored writing, producing and directing the UAW’s 50th Anniversary Celebration in 1987 — drawing over 100,000 to the banks of the Flint River with a parade, lasers, and fireworks synchronized to a multi-track broadcast televised live throughout Michigan.

There is an historic Eastern Madera County connection with the birth of the U.A.W. The late Jery Lacayo was a driving force behind the founding of the Oakhurst Democratic Club.

She was a strong community activist, having grown up with her grandfather, Wyndham Mortimer, a leader of the Great Sit-Down and signatory of the very first agreement between the United Auto Workers and General Motors along with John L. Lewis.

Both of Jery’s parents were union organizers – and she often recalled the visits Woody Guthrie made to their family home and of Pete Seeger and the Weavers visiting the LA C.I.O. building and of “sitting transfixed, listening to the stories of the 1937 sit-down strike – told by those who had actually made it happen.”

Les Marsden, President of Yosemite Gateway Partners, Inc. and Founding Music Director and Conductor of the Mariposa Symphony Orchestra recalls: “When Jery Lacao was a young adult, she was with the UAW – and also held membership in the OPEIU Local #30 — working on political campaigns for Maxine Waters and Yvonne Braithwaite Burke – and many others.   When she moved to Mariposa, she created the first real Democratic Club here, then called the “Wyndham Mortimer Democratic Club.” She subsequently became deeply involved helping to form the Oakhurst group.

The general public is cordially invited to attend regardless of party affiliation with plenty of time set aside for general discussion.

A hot buffet ($8.00 — All You Can Eat) will be served at 8:30 AM with the program starting at 9:30.

Unionization, as opposed to communism, presupposes the relation of employment. It is based upon the wage system and it recognizes fully and universally the institution of private property and the right to investment profit.” —- John L. Lewis (1937)






%d bloggers like this: