From the Molly Maguires, miners’ martyrs, to the United Mine Workers of America
CAPITOL HILL. Friday, November 29, 2019— One hundred and forty-two years after the corrupt and unjustified federal execution of 20 Irish miners in North East Pennsylvania, the World Peace Prize of “Roving Ambassador for Peace” was presented to a rising star in the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA).
The presentation ceremony took place on November 26—very appropriately—in the national headquarters of the AFL-CIO, whose president, Richard L. Trumpka, was himself president of the UMWA (1982-1995).
Miners from all across the U.S. rallied to the cause, creating a veritable love fest, or, solidarity fest.
The World Peace Prize laureate is the remarkable young leader Levi Allen, International Secretary-Treasurer.
Mr. Allen comes from a long tradition of UMWA coal miners. Born in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, on July 6, 1981, Levi was raised in Moundsville, West Virginia.
Levi was recognized as a rising talent in the UMWA and was hired by President Roberts onto the International Staff in 2015. He became the Executive Assistant to the International Secretary-Treasurer in January 2017 and assumed the duties of the International Secretary-Treasurer on July 1, 2017.
The Prize was presented by Fr. Sean McManus, president of the Capitol Hill-based Irish National Caucus and Chief Judge of the World Peace Prize. The presentation ceremony was chaired by Barbara Flaherty, Executive Vice President, Irish National Caucus, and a Judge on the World Peace Prize Awarding Council.
The Interfaith and international Awarding Council is comprised of representatives of the world’s nine major religions: Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Orthodox, and Zoroastrianism.
In his explanation of the World Peace Prize, Fr. McManus briefly referred to the Miners’ martyrs known as the Molly Maguires (1877-1879). He said: “According to historian Harold Aurand, it was ‘one of the most astounding surrenders of sovereignty in American history. A private corporation initiated the investigation through a private detective agency; a private police force arrested the alleged offenders; the coal company attorneys prosecuted them. The state only provided the courtroom and hangman.’ And some of the jury could not speak or understand English.”
Fr. McManus explained that social justice is the heart and center of the World Peace Prize:” That working for peace means, in fact, working for social justice. Without justice, there is no love. No Faith. No equality. No fairness. No decency. Without justice, there is no love of God, and, certainly, no love of neighbor… And that according to the Hebrew Bible and New Testament, and all the major world religions you cannot be a person of faith without doing justice. Furthermore, good people of no faith agree that without justice there can be no mutual respect or human decency. And Saint Pope John Paul reminds us that peace is the fruit of solidarity.”
Levi Allen was introduced by his boss, President Cecil E. Roberts. The legendary leader gave an inspiring, soulful and fulsome introduction of his young protégé.
Mr. Allen, in turn, brilliantly rose to the occasion. He expressed humility and honor in accepting the World Peace Prize; declared President Roberts as the very best Labor leader in the United States; urged Miners to believe they could win the struggle; and beautifully paid homage to his parents, wife, and five young children who were in attendance… And he wrapped it all up with a stirring rendition of “Country Road, Take Me Home,” while strumming his guitar.
Fr. Mc Manus concluded: “This was a most inspiring and touching event. I was most impressed by the Miners solidarity and honored to be in the presence of President Roberts and International Secretary-Treasurer Levi Allen.” END.