Alex Gallo-Brown is a local writer who also works as a union organizer. If you think those two careers sound disparate, you're not paying attention to the media world, where journalists are finally standing together to demand that they be treated better than a few interchangeable cogs in whatever kind of machine still uses cogs in the 21st century.
But Gallo-Brown was there first. Born and raised here in Seattle, he's attended just about every major political action that's unfolded in the last five years. Forged in the Great Recession, he's keenly aware that workers in America are getting shafted even while the bosses are making more than ever before.
Today, in a special Labor Day reading, Gallo-Brown will be debuting his new collection of fiction and poetry about work and unions, Variations of Labor, at Town Hall. He explained the new book to the South Seattle Emerald's Reagan Jackson back in February:
My day job is labor organizer, labor advocate. That’s one of the things I’ve been thinking a lot about over the last three or four years is work both in terms of our professional lives, but also the emotional labor we perform to survive both in our relationships and also in our daily lives and in our work experiences. [Variations] is sort of a mix of people working and living their lives. The poems get more at the emotional interior lives of people’s experience both at work and in their daily lives.
It's going to be a busy Labor Day at Town Hall; upstairs, Congressperson Pramila Jayapal will be talking with former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich. They'll be discussing what it means to work in America in the 21st century. But downstairs, Gallo-Brown will be telling those stories in an emotionally approachable way. This is what literature is for: to take disparate experiences and make them relatable, to find the heroic in the everyday. In Gallo-Brown's book, every worker is a hero.
Town Hall Seattle, 1119 8th Ave., 652-4255, http://townhallseattle.org, 6 pm, $5.