When We Were South Street Journal. Chicago Street Journal for March 18, 2018.


On August 1, 2013, South Street Journal (SSJ) became Chicago Street Journal (CSJ) . For the new readers, you will see just a taste SSJ from the old days. For the older readers, you may recognize some of the old faces and headlines from the past.

Sonja Cassandra Perdue
Associate Publisher - Digital


6 March 2018 2017

Chicago Street Journal


Today, General works tirelessly to

give back to his community and fight

the injustices that left him and his

counterparts with feelings of desperation

and loss of hope. He is President

of the Central Illinois Coalition of

Black Trade Unionists and has spoken

around the country on issues of

organizing labor and incarcerated

workers, fathers’ and noncustodial

parents’ issues, domestic violence,

housing and education reform. Twitter:

@gparker326 cicbtu@gmail.com

It’s a pleasure to connect with you and share with our readers, the

stellar organizational activities that you are currently involved with,

in Illinois. But, first tell the world what’s going on in Peoria, Illinois?

Did you grow up there and why is it your current stomping ground?

It’s always an honor and a privilege to speak with the Chicago Street

Journal. Yes, I was born in Peoria. I grew up for the most part in The Taft

Homes Housing Project. My first 20 years of life consisted of me being

reared in between Peoria, Detroit, and Chicago. The people down or out

West don’t understand my affinity for my hats and hard soled shoes.

I came back to Peoria in 2003 to regroup around the family, as I was going

through a bitter divorce and custody battle in St. Louis, MO. Little

did I know what a wild ride I was in for these next fifteen years. That is

when I started becoming more conscious of who I was and what the

world really thought about me and my people. I learned this system was

totally corrupt, from school boards all the way up to the White House. I

found out that it really doesn’t matter if or how good a person you are

and it doesn’t matter if you try and do right by people. It only matters if

you have money, connections or the right color. Sometimes all three.

I chose to stay here first of all to help care for my grandparents who have

since passed but also because my people were perishing for lack of

knowledge. Peoria has made 24/7 Wall Street’s list as one of the worst

cities for blacks to live for the past three years. They ranked 6 th , 1 st , and

2 nd respectively. The only reason they didn’t make first place this year is

because Eerie, PA had more unemployment this year. This year doesn’t

look at all promising either for us to get off that list.

Over the years, you’ve worked on many projects, but you’re currently

President of the Central Illinois Coalition of Black Trade Unionists.

What is its function and what do you hope to accomplish as the

President of this organization?

The Coalition of Black Trade Unionist (CBTU) is an organization that

was established in 1972 after the AFL-CIO refused to back a candidate in

the presidential race because Nixon was a Republican and McGovern

was talking about equal pay and rights for women and minorities so black

union members got together in Chicago that year and found their own

candidate and started the Coalition of Black Trade Unionist under founders

like William “Bill” Lucy who was the first president of CBTU and

remained there for 40 years and retired in 2012. Rev. Terrence Melvin of

the New York State’s AFL-CIO is the present and only other president

this organization has ever had.

The Objectives of CBTU are:

To improve economic development and employment opportunities for

black workers;

Increase union’s involvement in voter registration, voter education, voter


Organize unorganized workers;

Inaugural Meeting of the Organization for Procedural Justice (OPJ)

Actively support civil rights and civic groups who are working to improve

conditions in the Black community; and

To increase effective political alliance by urging members to run for office.

Governmental or union seats.

I founded the Central Illinois Chapter with the goal of bringing Peoria,

Rockford, and Rock Island together to be a formidable force here in the

17 th Congressional District. I believe the power in this district, the largest

voting district outside of the Chicago area, should be more diverse and

it’s time to turn this state around especially in this area. Not just for

Blacks but for all minorities who are oppressed by this country’s and

state’s terrible reign of oppression, discrimination, racism, and terrorism

to improve the conditions to receive fair and equal education, healthcare,

political and economic opportunities.

“United Purpose. United Voice. United Power.” Those words, found

on the website of JustLeadershipUSA.org, give off some extraordinary

vibes. What is JLUSA and what is your role?

Just Leadership USA (JLUSA) is an organization founded by Mr. Glenn

Martin of New York City, a formerly incarcerated person who is all

about investing in the leadership of other formerly incarcerated people. In

New York City, that takes people who have been disabled by the system

for having a record, and trains them to be more effective leaders at their

jobs, especially if they are working to help end mass incarceration. I first

met Glenn a couple of years ago in Oakland, CA at the first National

Conference for Formerly Incarcerated and Convicted Persons and Family

Movement (FICPFM). That great feat was organized by Dorsey Nunn

and his staff at All Of Us Or None (AOUON) and Legal Services for

Prisoners with Children (LSPC). Glenn was one of the featured speakers.

Once I heard him speak I had to interview him for my Urban Intellectuals

organization. We went Facebook live and the page lit up that day. We

have our own website and page at www.urbanintellectuals.com but we

also have a Facebook page with over 1 million followers.

JLUSA works with formerly convicted leaders of other organizations and

shows them how to become better, more effective leaders. JLUSA exposes

me to a national community of like-minded leaders all working towards

#halfby2030 which allows me to work locally and have the ability

to tap into a network of advocates to share best practices. I was chosen,

along with thirty-five other individuals from around the country, as 2018

Leading with Conviction fellowship. My cohorts and I are the fourth

class and the best class might I add. My role is to learn what I can to become

a better leader so that I can help bring out the leadership in others

and to network with whomever I can to give and receive help from others

to accomplish my goal of ending mass incarceration. JLUSA has already

shown what's possible when you think and act boldly, with the

#CLOSErikers Campaign, teaching the rest of us what's possible locally.

Continued on Page 7.


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