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Central Illinois Chapter of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists Bridging the Gap in Prosperity, Equality and Justice


L to R: Honoree Lew Moye, Missouri State Representative Karla May D-84, Keynote speaker, Willie Baker, Jr. and Denise Moye, wife of Lew Moye.

On Saturday, September 24, 2016, the Central Illinois Chapter of the Coalition ofBlack Trade Unionists (CBTU) held its first annual Lew Moye Awards Banquet at East Peoria Embassy Suites Convention Center. The event honored Mr. Lew Moye, International CBTU 2nd Vice-President and St. Louis Chapter’s President Emeritus for his 44 years of service in CBTU and his work as a progressive leader and activist. The Banquet yielded attendees from Peoria, St. Louis, Chicago, Rockford and Washington, DC. The Keynote Speaker was Mr. Willie Baker, a retired United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) union leader and Vice-president Emeritus of the national CBTU.

Mr. Moye, had a chance to meet with some Central Illinois CBTU members that night and gave them insight on what CBTU is all about, how it got started and why and what they could do to help build on the event of the weekend. “By bringing together Mr. Moye, and the speech of Mr. Willie Baker, Jr. to the inaugural annual Awards Banquet of the Central Illinois CBTU, we have kept true to our motto of “Bridging the Gap in Prosperity, Equality and Justice,” said General Parker, President CICBTU.

Following are some excerpts of Mr. Moye’s remarks. “Let me just give thanks to the Central Illinois CBTU Chapter membership for holding this event tonight honoring me and branding the event in my name. A special thanks to Willie Baker for traveling all the way from Washington, D.C. to keynote the event tonight. This chapter is only a year and four months old to have such an event of this nature. It is an accomplishment and something I will cherish for the rest of my life.” Moye went on to thank General Parker, President of CICBTU, for his leadership and dedication to building CBTU in Central Illinois. “General, you have shown a desire to build and grow this chapter into one of our strongest in the Country. When we take a look at the deadly policing of unarmed blacks, the suppression of voting rights, double digit unemployment in people-of-color communities, drug violence and drug abuse, the attacks on workers and their unions, and the systemic racism in our criminal justice systems in our communities—we have to come to the conclusion that CBTU is needed more than ever. So I urge you to continue to raise the banner of CBTU in Central Illinois.”


Lew Moye and General Parker


Councilwoman Denise Moore, Lew Moye, and Denise Moye

Mr. Baker’s speech focused on voting and how important it is for the minority community to not stand idly by; that their participation is expected and required. He explained, “Focus, do not get caught up in how large the candidates hands are or the nick names that he or she has been given, or what a spouse may have done twenty years ago. Focus on the horse race.” He continued, “Where do conservatives stand on your right to vote and voter ID, what about policing and gun safety, and expressly your right to have a union and the church of your choice?” Baker summed up his speech in one profound note of guidance, “Remember, magic is done with misdirection. Don’t be misdirected with the horse race. Watch the issues.”

The awards banquet fundraiser is an annual event to help raise money for scholarships for youth and to aid non-profits who are supporting the work of the Central Illinois CBTU. Donations will be year round, so please send your support to: Central Illinois CBTU, P.O. Box 3026, Peoria, IL 61612-3026. For more information contact: General Parker, President-CICBTU at (309) 232-8583, (217) 572-0516 or email


Sponsors to the event included: U.S. Congressman Darin LaHood, U.S. Congressman Robin Kelly, U.S. Congressman. William “Lacy” Clay, IL State Senator Toi Hutchinson, IL State Representative Jean Gordon-Booth, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 649 Peoria.