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Local Artists Reviving Labor Movement Music Unveil Mural in San Bernardino

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Ie Songs Mural Unveiling Instagram 2 Ie Songs Album Design Max And Jonny Max And Jonny 2 Jonny Miller Jr
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. & RIVERSIDE, Calif. - Rezul -- As workers across the nation celebrate labor victories, a collective of grant-winning Inland Empire musicians and artists unveil a mural celebrating their mission to merge music, art, and union organizing.

The mural by artist A'Kailah Byrd-Greene, is the emblem of a grant-funded project based on the music and organizing of grantee Jonny Miller Jr. Awarded by Creative Corps Inland SoCal and funded by California Arts Council, the project, "IE Songs: Labor Songs Revival", was inspired by Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, and the 1909 songbook, "IWW Songs." Along with musician Max Cruz, Miller brought traditional folk songs with lyrics adapted to current local labor battles to picket lines, uplifting the voices of logistics workers, nurses, United Auto Workers, and more. This mural symbolizes their songs.

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"I was inspired by IE Songs' enthusiasm in advocating for workers," recalled A'Kailah. "I wanted to create a mural that reflected the support I felt when I met them, and I saw a chance to give a visual voice to leaders that have impacted our community. It's been an honor to team up with such talented people."

In 2023, IE Songs hosted workshops with IE Labor Council, highlighting historical connections between folk music and the labor movement. Community members were welcomed to submit lyrics to be published in the "IE Songs" songbook. Miller chose three songs and set them to melodies inspired by traditional ballads performed by Jonny Miller & Suns at May Day: International Workers Day, in Fontana. Max Cruz' band, Los Agentes Del Imperio, sang the same songs in Spanish.

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"Throughout my life I've seen family, friends, and workers in my community fail to be rewarded the dignity they've worked hard for. I'd like to do my part in the fight for a better life for working people. If these songs inspire any pro-labor action I'll be happy," said Cruz. "It's a great honor to be included in this project.  I hope to make my people proud."

Both bands' performances were recorded live on May Day, and will be released on a 10-track album called "IE Songs", streaming everywhere 8/15/24. CDs and songbooks will be handed out at the mural celebration.

"My grandfather, Rodney Miller, was chair of his Utility Workers Union, and marched with Cesar Chavez in Coachella. My great great grandfather, Julius, was a construction organizer that defended Joe Hill, co-creator of IWW Songs, before he was martyred in Salt Lake City," said Jonny, "I see my art as carrying on the traditions of my ancestors. In this way, Joe Hill, Julius, and Rodney Miller never died."

Join IE Songs mural unveiling, 12-1pm, Saturday, 6/29/24, at 1411 N D St, San Bernardino.

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Jonny Miller Jr

Source: JonnyMillerJr.com

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