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Three Lehman Winners in Labor Arts Essay Contest

May 20, 2011

Genill Reynoso

Mary Sofianos

Lehman students Genill Reynoso, Mary Sofianos, and Jee Eun Mae are three of the winners in the Making Labor's History Visible Essay Contest, sponsored by Labor Arts, the Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation, and the City University of New York. An awards ceremony will be held at the CUNY Graduate Center on May 24. Altogether, twelve CUNY undergraduate students will be recognized for their essays or poems dedicated to the labor movement.

Reynoso, a sophomore and social work major, won third prize in the non-fiction category for "Sin Nombre," in which she interviewed an undocumented worker from the Dominican Republic.

Sofianos, a junior and an art major, will receive third prize in the poetry category for "Unlock the Door," which explores the tragedy of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire in lower Manhattan that occurred in 1911 and took the lives of 146 garment workers, most of them young immigrant women. In her work, Sofianos describes what some of the victims endured and, as she puts it, "what we learned from it to improve our working conditions."

Mae's essay "Shackled to Corruption" won an honorable mention in the non-fiction category.

The goal of the contest was to revitalize labor history at CUNY. Winning entries will be featured on the web museum, which celebrates the artistic and cultural heritage of the labor movement and working people.

The contest was made possible through the generous efforts of The Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation and Don Rubin; Lehman College/CUNY Dean of Education Deborah Eldridge, Dean of Arts & Humanities Timothy Alborn, and Associate Professor of English and Chair Terrence Cheng; and Rachel Bernstein, Henry Foner, and Evelyn Jones Rich.