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Town Hall Seattle: Civics Series

Town Hall’s Civics series highlights everything from local policies to world politics. These events offer perspectives on a range of topics as diverse as Seattle itself—a bustling forum for activism, discovery, and thought-provoking discussion.

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Sep 6, 2019

What does it mean to labor in modern-day America? Alex Gallo-Brown took the stage with visions from his book Variations of Labor, offering poetry, essays, and fiction about all walks of work. In conversation with Nicole Vallestero Keenan-Lai of Puget Sound Sage, Gallo-Brown explored the lives of semiprofessional poker players, line cooks in high-tech company cafeterias, and an activist trying to drum up support for a union. Gallo-Brown painted a bleak picture of dead-end jobs and truncated hopes, while simultaneously depicting the roil underneath the surface of all those who have been disrespected and written off. Sit in with Gallo-Brown and Keenan-Lai for the complex, sobering, and human stories of labor in our country.

Alex Gallo-Brown is a poet, journalist, and labor activist from Seattle. He is the author of The Language of Grief, a collection of poems. He has received emerging artist awards from WonderRoot and the City of Atlanta and twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize in poetry.

Nicole Vallestero Keenan-Lai is the Executive Director of Puget Sound Sage. Previously, she was the Executive Director of the Fair Work Center, a hub for workers to understand and exercise their legal rights, improve working conditions, and connect with community resources.

Presented by Town Hall Seattle as part of the 2019 Homecoming Festival. Recorded live at The Forum by Town Hall Seattle on September 2, 2019.