"Radium Girls" Talk-Back Panelists Inform and Interact
The Pre-Law Department partnered with the Department of Fine and Performing Arts this past Sunday, the 18th, to delve into the legal aspects of their latest production, "Radium Girls." The piece centered on a legal battle between four young women and their employer, United States Radium. The girls were employed to paint watches with paint containing radium. As girl after girl became sick with radium poisoning, the factory dug its heels in deeper and deeper to assert its innocence. The case became a national sensation, and remains a point of interest in the history of the workers' rights movement.
Following the well-acted and expertly-produced show, five individuals took the stage for a panel discussion to engage with the audience and share their views. First was Professor Torri Hester, an assistant professor in the University's Department of History, who provided a sketch of the play's historical context, and described the status of both workers and women in the early twentieth century. Second was Professor Silvania Siddali, also of the Department of History, who placed the events of the production in their legislative context, citing actions taken by congress as a result of similar cases concerning the rights of the working class.
Third was Doctor Stephanie Solomon of the Albert Gnaegi Center for Health Care Ethics, who presented the perspective of research scientists. Doctor Solomon detailed the steps taken today by scientists to ensure the safety of any scientific trial involving human subjects.
Next was Chris Archer, an attorney with extensive experience in worker's compensation. Mr. Archer provided his legal perspective on the progression of the four women's case against United States Radium, as well as details about the current system of workers' compensation.
The final panelist was the show's director and the Chair of the Department of Fine and Performing Arts, Gary Wayne Barker. Professor Barker both facilitated the discussion and answered questions about the production.
Sincere thanks to the panelists as well as the audience for making the talk-back a success.
Interested in finding out more about "Radium Girls" and workers' compensation in general? Check out the documentary, "Radium City" on Youtube.