CBTU sponsors Juneteenth celebration, cleanup

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Many unions join effort

LAUNCHING the Juneteenth ceremonies sponsored by the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists is St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones. – Philip Deitch photo

By KEVIN MADDEN
Correspondent

More than 40 volunteers collected enough trash to fill two 20-foot-long dumpsters Saturday, June 18 during the Third Annual Juneteenth Labor for Black Lives Day of Action in St. Louis.

The volunteers cleaned up sidewalks and lots along Dr. Martin Luther King Drive from Grand Boulevard west to the city limits, said Jay Ozier, president of the St. Louis Chapter of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU).

CELEBRATING JUNETEENTH at a rally June 18 in St. Louis were (from left) Jay Ozier, president of the St. Louis Chapter of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists; St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones; Lew Moye, CBTU president emeritus; U.S. Rep. Cori Bush (D-St. Louis), and Edward Drew, father of the late Cora Faith Walker. Walker was policy director for St. Louis County Executive Sam Page. She collapsed at a downtown hotel March 11 and later died from a heart condition. – Labor Tribune photo

Participating in the cleanup were members of UNITE Local 74, Painters District 58, Laborers, Communications Workers and United Auto Workers.

The event was sponsored by the CBTU Under 40 Leaders Committee. The city’s Brightside St. Louis program provided tools, gloves and trash bags.

DOING THEIR PART – Top leadership of UNITE Local 74, on the job with their members Saturday for the Juneteenth cleanup of Dr. Martin Luther King Drive., were Local 74 Business Representative Krystal George (center), Local 74 President Kim Bartholomew (right) and member Mick Barnhart. – Labor Tribune photo

At a rally held before the cleanup began, speakers including St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones and U.S. Rep. Cori Bush (D-St. Louis) commemorated Juneteenth as a celebration of African-Americans’ emancipation from slavery more than 150 years ago.

Juneteenth is a recognized holiday in St. Louis City, and beginning this year is a paid holiday for city employees.

SISTER ACT – Two sisters, both members of UNITE Local 74, working together at the Juneteenth cleanup of Dr. Martin Luther King Drive were Lisa Williams-Jones (left) and her younger sister, Kunova Alexander (right). The massive cleanup filled two 20-foot-long dumpsters. Helping is Ken Sims, Workers United Local 104 in Chicago (center), who is a past treasurer of the St. Louis Chapter of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists. – Labor Tribune photo

In addition, “It is now a national holiday in the United States of American,” Ozier said at the rally.

St. Louis City’s website says, “On June 19th, 1865, Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the (Civil War) had ended and that the enslaved were now free. This was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.”

 

 

 

 


 

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