“Bread and Roses” at Gil’s Hootenanny

The song “Bread and Roses” is often a feature of the Gil’s Hootenanny repertoire.  

​Coming out of the successful 1912 textile strike by immigrant women workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts, “Bread and Roses” is an anthem of both the women’s and the labour movements. It calls not only for fair wages for women (bread), but also dignity, education, and beauty (roses) and for equality for women in all aspects of society, something that women in 2024 have learned not to take for granted.

​This historic song was a favourite of Helen Levine, who hosted hootenannies with her husband Gil for decades. Gil’s Hootenanny, Ottawa’s annual May,Day sing-along, is a tribute to Gil Levine, founding Director of Research at the Canadian Union of Public Employees, who believed in the collective power of song to bring people together to speak up and sing out for change. 

​Gil’s Hootenanny will take place on Wednesday, May 1, 2024, starting at 7:00 pm at the First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa, 30 Cleary Avenue.