Hundreds of dialects can be heard in America’s most diverse city, yet New York’s lingua franca is the language of change. Natives or newbies, New Yorkers are known for voicing strong views about why things need to be different. Here, love and hate spur movements, mobilize the masses, draw people into the streets and across bridges under banners. New Yorkers’ convictions, compassion and outrage have driven the city’s history and transformation, setting national precedents and seeding ideas. They still do.
One week from today marks 100 years since the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. It’s often called “the fire that changed everything,” because the 146 deaths that it caused — its victims were mostly Jewish and Italian immigrant women — became a catalyst for much of the labor activism that helped bring about sweeping workplace safety reforms. If you haven’t already, check out the Forward’s website devoted to the fire’s legacy — complete with more than a dozen original pieces, multimedia, and 25 translated articles published in the Yiddish Forward in the fire’s immediate aftermath.