Sirkka Tuomi Holm was born just days before women earned the right to vote in the United States, a point her father considered vitally important and reminded her of it frequently. Her activism started then, and didn’t ever stop.
Holm, who died in October 2020 at age 100, was a walking, talking, living history book. From her grandfather fighting for the Reds during the Finnish Civil War, to her immigrant parents’ involvement in labor strikes, to being trailed by the FBI and being the first woman on the East Coast to be subpoenaed to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee, Sirkka led a fascinating life — as she revealed in her own words in a biographical documentary film titled “Sirkka: Past and Present.”
This hour-long film will show on Wednesday, January 18 as part of the Nordic Film Series at the Finlandia University Finnish American Heritage Center. The screening will begin at 2 p.m. This screening is also part of Heikinpäivä 2023, which takes place throughout the month of January. For a complete schedule of events, visit Finlandia.edu/heikinpaiva.
A veteran of the Women’s Army Corps, of the Finnish-American stage and press, and of numerous progressive and liberal causes, Sirkka’s vivid recollections will captivate viewers as she whisks them back through the decades, sharing stories of her countless life experiences, including her testimony on live television during the HUAC hearings, her stories from the picket lines during labor strikes, her many performances on the stages of Finnish-American halls, and her decades of service as a feature columnist in the monthly newspaper “The Finnish American Reporter.” Her monthly tales, appearing under the headline “Past and Present,” appeared in that publication from the paper’s launch in 1986 until Sirkka’s passing.
Sirkka’s newspaper column is the basis for the title of the documentary, which was produced by the Finnish American Heritage Center (FAHC) at Finlandia University, in conjunction with filmmaker Kristin Ojaniemi of Bruce Crossing, Michigan. The FAHC is the repository for many significant Finnish-American archival collections, including Sirkka’s personal papers and effects. To learn more about how you can donate materials to the Heritage Center, or how you can financially support projects like “Sirkka: Past and Present,” call the Center at (906) 487-7347, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Article provided by the Finlandia University Finnish American Heritage Center