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
February 6 March 2018 2017 ChicagoStreetJournal GENERAL PARKER 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 ChicagoStreetJournal. 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 turnout; 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. www.ChicagoStreetJournal.com
CSJ’s Interview with General Parker (cont’d) Interviewer Sonja Cassandra Perdue — CSJ. ChicagoStreetJournal February 2017 March 2018 7 (Left) General Parker and African Americans Father's Rights advocate, Kenneth Braswell. (Right) General Parker and MN. Rep. Keith Ellison, while in Ferguson teaching a weekend class on how In looking over your bio, I found that you are working on a project to remove the “Exception Clause” from the 13th Amendment of the US Constitution which allows “slavery or involuntary servitude” for those convicted of a crime. Now, that’s some strong stuff. Can you break it down for us? When Abraham Lincoln signed Executive Order #95, the Emancipation Proclamation, it gave people the illusion that slavery no longer existed in America and had been outlawed. They even took this charade one step further by Congress passing the 13 th Amendment (the one just ratified in Mississippi in 2013) which stated “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, EXCEPT AS PUNISHMENT FOR CRIME WHEREOF THE PARTY SHALL HAVE BEEN DULY CONVICTED, shall exist within the United States or any place subject to their jurisdiction. The injection of that “Exception Clause” meant slavery never went anywhere and legalized slavery still existed here in the United States. All the racist, politicians and greedy corporate (McDonalds, Sprint, Verizon, Victoria Secrets, etc.) entities had to do was make sure laws were passed that would make minorities, the poor and everyone not connected into criminals thus granting them the benefit of free labor while they keep the profits. Slavery! I was appointed three years ago, along with Illinois State Senator, Mattie Hunter, to be an advisor for the Organization on Procedural Justice (OPJ) by the Hon. Judge Arthur Burnett who is the first black judge appointed to the federal court for the District of Columbia. We had our inaugural meeting on March 28, 2015, at Howard University in Washington, DC. OPJ was founded by Dr. Merelyn Bates-Mims of Cincinnati, OH. They co-chair this committee under the direction of the Southern Ohio Diocese of the Episcopal Church. I’ve since become an Executive Council member for OPJ. Me, a formerly incarcerated person on a committee with Lawyers, judges, prosecutors, professors, ex-Army Colonels and law students. Go figure! You are also a public speaker, how can you be reached and is there anything that you would like to add? I would just like to add, that I love Chicago, except for its winters, and I try to come here every chance I can get to help out wherever I can. I spend a lot of time helping Dr. Phillip Jackson of the Black Star Project by volunteering and mentoring whenever I can. Anybody out there reading this, I just ask that you find the time to volunteer, tutor, mentor or donate wherever you can. You may not think what you do matters but trust me, every little bit helps. You never know who is watching, so continue to plant those seeds of positivity and love for one another. I fight for court reform, criminal justice reform, housing and education reform, civil and human rights and first and foremost, the rights of noncustodial parents to have a chance to be in their children’s lives. If people wish to contact me the can go to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org and (309) 232-8583. Thank you! Secure Your Ad In The NEXT Issue At www.CSJads.info.