TRINIDAD, CO – A statue of Louis Tikas, Greek miner, strong icon, and union leader in the early 1900s who fought for labor rights in the coal mines of southern Colorado will be unveiled on Saturday, Jun. 23, at the Trinidad Coal Miners Memorial Park.
The event will begin at 4 PM, with the Cretan Dance Group performing at 4:30 and 4:50. The Foundation of Hellenism of America President Michael Servos will speak along with Cecil E. Roberts, President of the United Mine Workers of America International.
Southern Colorado Coal Miners Museum, 305 W Main St. in Trinidad, CO.
The schedule of events for June 23-24 begins with the unveiling of the Louis Tikas Statue at the Coal Miners Memorial Park, sponsored by the City of Trinidad, Foundation of Hellenism of America, Pancretan Association of America, United Mine Workers of America, Hellenic Republic Government, and the Southern Colorado Coal Miner’s Committee.
A symposium on Louis Tikas’ life, a screening of the documentary on the Ludlow Massacre and Louis Tikas’ Death, and a performance by a Cretan dance group from Colorado are also scheduled as well as a visit to the Cemetery in Trinidad, Colorado where a Trisagio at the tomb of Louis Tikas will be held with Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver presiding.
Servos told The National Herald that a section of highway is being renamed in honor of the heroic Tikas. Through Servos’ initiative the town of Trinidad decided to name the Trinidad-Ludlow highway, “Louis Tikas Hwy.”
Tikas, who was born and raised in Rethymnon, Crete, has been featured in recent documentaries including Palikari: Louis Tikas and Ludlow Massacre (2014) by director Nikos Ventouras and the award-winning Ludlow: Greek Americans in the Colorado Coal War (2016), produced by the non-profit company “Apostolis Berdebes,” producer of documentaries on the history of Greeks in America, and directed by Leonidas Vardaros. Ludlow co-Producer and researcher Frosso Tsouka spoke with TNH about the film in a previous interview before its New York premiere noting that “Ludlow tells the story of Greek immigrants who found themselves in distant Colorado working for many years under inhuman conditions of semi-slavery. They eventually united with thousands of other immigrant miners and took part in a long strike that started peacefully in 1913 and developed into an armed confrontation in April 1914, after the Ludlow Massacre and the murder of the Greek leader, Louis Tikas. The film has received awards at all the documentary festivals in Greece and has been embraced by the public of Greece and of the Greek Diaspora.”
Tsouka told TNH that buses from Denver will bring members of the Greek community to the ceremony and she will be among those in attendance as well as the Cultural Ambassador of the region of Crete and the new Director of the New York City Greek Film FestivalMaria Tzompanaki.
“The next day,” Tsouka continued, “in addition to the Ludlow commemoration, there is a touching ceremony for those killed at one of the worst mine explosions that took place 3 years after Ludlow, on April 27, 1917, the Hastings explosion where 35 Greek miners were among the 121 killed. The union brings a big bell on a tripod and sets it up in a field at the location where the mine was, and they read the names of those killed and ring the bell after each name. Last year, they asked me to read the Greek names at the ceremony.”
She also noted, “Then there is the cemetery with all the crosses with the Greek names and the age of those buried there, all so young.”
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