Christopher T. Matthews
“What does Black History Mean To You?” was the theme of UAW Local 1435’s 17th Annual Black History Celebration on Sunday, February 26th at their hall in Perrysburg, OH.
Hundreds attended the event, and several were honored for their activity in the community, that included: Tiara Armstrong of Hearts 2 Hearts, Mayor Paula Hicks Hudson, Ray Woods President of the NAACP and the UAW Local 14, Greg Braylock, Director of Operations ProMedica, Cheryl Bennette of APRI Voter Registration and Co-chairmen of Local 1435, Garland Files. IBF Lightweight champ, Robert Easter Jr., who was not present, but was honored.
Alice Reasonover-Payne, civil and human rights committee chair, explained that the event is about solidarity, unity and working together, as one, under one, who is the Heavenly Father. “Being black is knowing where you come from, knowing where you are going,” she said.
Ms. Reasonover compared their event to last year, which was different. Because this year, they gave a Grammy Award, a red carpet affair, to honor people who have come from particular communities and have succeeded, as well as giving back and redistributing a positive energy back into the community. She considers this as history.” We our history,” according to Ms. Reasonover- Payne.
Corey Jones, artist, factory worker, member of 1435, host and 2016 honoree said, “Black History is a documentation of the intestinal fortitude, and as an artist I use my paintings as a form of documentation for our people. The obstacles and challenges that we have striven to overcome, for example Miles Davis was a trail blazer, in a time where they barely let black people do anything in a professional environment, but sweep floors. This brother was inventing and forging new genres of music and that is a testament of the intestinal fortitude that I speak of. So hopefully, when someone sees a painting they can get a feel of how great we are, as a people, or at least witness the struggles that we been through as a people and how we overcame them.”
Vince Davis of Vince Davis -State Farm Insurance and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., brother, feels that Local 1435 has done an excellent job with the event and labor plays a significant role in the fabric of the country. Unions like 1435 have built a foundation in regards to interjecting for the laborers, as well as those who come from the collegiate aspect of things. “There are so many of us, who have gone to work, so that our children could go to college. So it is a honor to be here and we support it greatly!” he stated.
Showing their support were Janee Payne and Chailah Cash, who both felt that the event was great, positive and the fact that Local 1435 was acknowledging African Americans, in Toledo, who are out there still making a difference.
Performances were by Kim Anderson, the Greatest Love of All, Nykiiah Wright of Ms. Nikki’s Traveling Story Bag, the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., as well as, the Divine Praise Dancers of Phillips Temple CME church.
Jarvetta Barnes served as chairperson, Garland Files, co-chair, Karl Sil, recording secretary and Time Walbolt trustee, and Lakeisha Simmons, Yvette Thompson were on the civil rights committee.