Feature image: HONOREES FROM LEFT TO RIGHT DJ KEITH SUCCESS, SHELIA DANIELS-BELL, DEBORAH ROBERTS AND C.J. MANNING
By: Emily Jackson
United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 1435 honored five Toledo musicians this past weekend as Black History Month comes to a close.
The union hosted it’s 18th annual Black History Celebration February 28 at 3:30 p.m. at their home building at 29781 Oregon Rd. in Perrysburg.
The evening included entertainment from vocalists and local praise teams, a recognition ceremony and a free meal.
Alice Reasonover-Payne, member of Local 1435, has been actively involved in planning this celebration for the past 18 years and said she headed up the planning committee this year.
She said that the event is a way for them to honor different people making a difference in the community.
This year, she chose to honor African American musicians the late Derrick Roberts, Cj Manning, Jean Holden, Sheila Daniels-Bell, and DJ Keith Success.
“I wanted to honor the black Americans that were doing things within the community, within Toledo, Ohio, even if they had moved and come back or were still doing something inside the city that had made a difference,” Alice said. “I felt that they should be honored.”
Each honoree received a certificate of recognition and a few gave speeches.
In previous years, Local 1435 has honored any number of Toledo community members including former mayors Paula Hicks-Hudson and Jack Ford and Jennifer Wilson, a female firefighter who was part of the first all-African-American crew in Toledo Fire Department history.
Alice said they’ve also honored young up-and-coming athletes from local school districts, children of parents who work at the Toledo Machining Plant.
“We’d bring the kids out and give them a certificate of appreciation for the things that they were doing and that was to empower them, to keep them going, to let them know we’re watching them and we’re very proud of them,” she said.
Alice said that, since this was her last year planning the event, she not only wanted to recognize the honorees but also the planning committee who made the event possible.
“I just wanted to let the ones that helped out know that I really appreciated them so I gave each one a rose and I gave the president’s wife half a dozen,” she said.
Members of the local 1435 are employees of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles at the Toledo Machining Plant, but Alice said she wants the community to know that they do more than just work at the plant.
“I don’t want to call us factory workers. We’re not just there doing that. We have other things that we do, other things we enjoy doing, we don’t mind giving back to the community,” she said. “We keep our community on mind and at hand and we do try to get out and work in the community and do things to let them know that we do care.”
In addition to the annual Black History Celebration, Local 1435 also hosts a number of events throughout the year including an Easter egg hunt in March, and Christmas parties for both the community and UAW members.