By Tricia Hall
The Truth Reporter
The local Coalition of Black Trade Unionist (CBTU) held their annual black history event on February 26. This program is the 33rd annual event which has acknowledged local and national contributions of Black people and recognizes local Black leader. The 2022 program was held virtually and was live on the organization’s Facebook page.
“We’re excited to have you here this evening for this exciting program,” said Erika White, event mistress of ceremonies.
The program provided visual and verbal introductions of presenters throughout the program. CBTU local president, officially launched the program by delivering an official welcome greeting to all of the event viewers. “This year we had to make the difficult decision to meet virtually. I want to thank our team and co-chairs. I want to thank everyone who played a role on this program. Thank you to the honorees and our keynote speakers,” shared Cheryl Tyler Folsom, local CBTU president.
Invocation was delivered by co-pastor Alisa Key of People’s Missionary Baptist Church, the Black National Anthem was sung by vocalist Tonielle Barton, the union’s history and membership highlights was presented by Sharon Roach and musical performance by Sax B.
The 2022 honorees were: No More Domestic Violence for organization, Tina Butts of The Movement for community service, Henry McCoy for labor and Senator Edna Brown for political action a posthumous honor.
No More Domestic Violence was founded by Arthur Jones to break down the stigma of domestic violence and sexual assault. The organization also received a generous donation from CBTU. Tina Butts and The Movement has supported various local impact projects including voter registration, voter access and education, and Covid vaccine and testing. Henry McCoy, the local UAW Retiree chapter president, earned Labor honors.
“I’m honored and want to say thank you. This helps our cause. On behalf of the board of trustees and myself, we thank you,” shared Jones.
“Thank you. I’m humbled to be recognized by beautiful black men and women. Our fight will continue and we will continue to serve our community in people in areas that have forgotten. We will continue to fight and do whatever it takes. I can’t find the words to say how proud I am of this award and I accept this for our team,” shared Butts.
“Since the beginning of CBTU, the UAW has been involved in leadership positions. Thank you for this award and for honoring me, my family,” shared McCoy.
The program continued by featuring Lucas County Common Pleas Court Judge Ian English and his wife Toledo Municipal Clerk of Court Vallie Bowman English, Esq. as keynote speakers.
The pair opened the discussion by sharing how the couple initially met, how they rose to their current roles and remarked on various topics that impact today’s Black Community.
“I want to thank you for having us. We’re going to have a conversation about what we do and how it correlates to what CBTU does. I initially wanted to be a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader, then wanted to become a doctor or lawyer. After watching a frog dissected, I went downtown and saw the court. I said, I can do that. I knew I had to become a lawyer and after college, I worked as a lawyer. Some people think that I am just a clerk, but I am so many things. I’m currently on the Supreme Court task force on bail reform and so many other roles. There is a distrust of the system from our community. There is a disconnect that we’re unfairly treated,” shared Bowman English.
“I first got involved with the legal system when I almost got arrested. I was a typical kid and worked at an auto parts store. I was in a McDonald’s parking lot and received a citation for loitering, was placed on probation and months later I saw an episode of 60 minutes that talked about loitering. I eventually learned that I was taken advantaged of. The biggest issue that faces the courts today is the unbalance nature, but we’re working to make changes in the Lucas County criminal justice system. We have to work hard as the criminal justice system to protect the system’s most vulnerable,” shared Judge English.
Sponsors: UAW Toledo Area Cap Council; UAW Region 2B; Greater Northwest Ohio Central Labor Council of American Federation of Labor & Organizations Industrial of Congress; Toledo Federation of Teachers; The YMCA; International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local 45; International Brotherhood of Teachers; Toledo Unit of NAACP, United Steelworkers Local 1-346; Plumbers, Journeymen, Service Mechanics, Apprentices, Steamfitters Local 50, IBEW #8, African American Police Union, Judge Christine Mayle for Sixth District Court of Appeals; Labors’ International Union Local 500; Ohio AFL-CIO; Ohio State Representative Paula Hicks-Hudson; ASSETS Toledo; UAW Local 14; CWA Local 4319, City of Toledo Councilwoman McPherson; First Church of God; A. Philip Randolph Institute; United Way of Greater Toledo; City of Toledo Councilwoman Katie Moline; AFSCME Retirees Sub Chapter 109; Perry Burroughs Democratic Women’s Club; Lindsay Webb Lucas County Treasurer; Farm Labor Organizing Committee, Instaplak Event Photography & Awards