A postcard of Joseph Mairs sold by his fellow miners to raise funds for his cairn (Submitted photo)

Joseph Mairs Memorial pays homage to young trade-unionist

January 19 marks the 18th annual Joseph Mairs Memorial

January 19 marks the 18th annual Joseph Mairs Memorial.

In the summer of 1913, striking Ladysmith coal miners chased European strike breakers out of town by pelting their residence with rocks. The strikers gained control of Ladysmith, but were quickly overwhelmed by militia forces bolstered by a section of the Seaforth Highlanders. The militia forces then began arresting strikers. Mairs was identified as a rock thrower. He was fined $100, and sentenced to one year in Okalla prison. Mairs died in the winter of 1914 after falling ill in prison – just one month short of his 22nd birthday.

His legacy lives on through a large cairn at the Ladysmith cemetery, which was paid for by his fellow miners. His legacy also lives through the Joseph Mairs Memorial. Every year, organizers honour Mairs’ life and host speakers that present on a range of subjects.

Eden Haythornthwaite and her family took on an organizational role with the Joseph Mairs Memorial Committee after learning about his story. Since then, they have helped to bring speakers from far and wide to come to the event – often paying for the guest speakers’ travel expenses to attend the memorial.

This year there are two speakers. Dipti Baranwal, a south Asian immigrant who has been teaching in Los Angeles for 11 years. Baranwal helped initiate and sustain Students Deserve, a student-teacher-parent organization that is working to end racism, challenge privatization, and shift public consciousness. Baranwal will be joined by Noah Lippe-Klein, a history teacher at Dorsey High School in Los Angeles for 20 years. He is on the Board of Directors of UTLA, the union that led last year’s 6-day strike. He also supports the student movement in LA called Students Deserve, which leads the Making Black Lives Matter in Schools campaign.

Their talk is titled: The Historic LA Teacher Strike and the Work of Making Black Lives Matter in Schools.

The memorial will also feature live music from Art Farquharson and friends, Beverley McKeen and friends, and Lily Haythornthwaite.

The event begins at 1:00 pm at St. Mary’s Catholic Church Hall in Ladysmith, and will include an outdoor walk to the cemetery to visit Joseph Mairs’ grave site.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ladysmith life coach wins international award two years in a row

Bestka K-Burr has been named among the Top 100 Management Consultants in the World

Businesses mixed on downtown temporary washroom

Ladysmith Health Food Stores launches petition against the temporary washroom

Three active COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island

Since July 24, Central island has had five new cases, North one, South none

Cheri Mactier celebrates 20 years in Ladysmith real estate

After 20 years in town, Mactier’s daughter, Brianne Mactier is joining the family business

Exhibit showcases one side of artist’s wide-ranging personality

Skagfeld takes something from all of her life experiences

578 British Columbians currently infected with COVID-19

Seventy-eight new cases confirmed in past 24 hours

Captive fawn seized from Island home

Valley resident charged and fined under the Wildlife Act

Pandemic could be driving more parents to get on board with flu shot: study

University of B.C. study gauges willingness for parents to vaccinate children for influenza

Watchdog clears Okanagan RCMP in death of man after arrest over alleged stolen pizzas

The man died in hospital after having difficulty breathing and broken ribs

Have you seen Berleen? B.C. pig destined for sanctuary goes missing

Berleen was less than two weeks from travelling to Manitoba when she vanished

Health Canada says several kids hospitalized after eating edible pot products

People warned not to store cannabis products where children can find them

‘It’s not just about me’: McKenna cites need to protect politicians from threats

Police investigation was launched after someone yelled obscenities at a member of McKenna’s staff

Michigan plans dedicated road lanes for autonomous vehicles

First study of its kind in the U.S. to figure out whether existing lanes or shoulders could be used

Most Read