NORMAL (WEEK) — Twin Cities leader Mike Matejka was named Normal Citizen of the year by Normal Mayor Chris Koos at the town’s annual volunteer appreciation reception Tuesday.
During his 50 years in the twin cities, Matejka served on the Bloomington City Council and the Great Plains Labor Council.
In 1995, he founded “Not In Our Town” and “Not In Our School”, a national organization that promotes racial justice and community building.
“How do we make a place where all people are treated fairly and equally and every human being can reach their potential?” Matejka said.
Matejka said over the years, people of the Twin Cities have become more aware of social issues.
He noticed this especially in the past year, leading the community through a deadly pandemic and racial justice protests last summer.
He said the biggest lesson he learned is to be a listener.
“Whether it’s a pandemic, whether its racial relations, human relation, you have to approach it all with humility.” Matejka said. “How do I listen? How do I learn? How do I find out what’s going on with people?”
Co-chair of Not In Our Town Camille Taylor has served alongside Matejka for 30 years and said because he’s been such a great listener, he’s earned the respect of many in the community.
“When he’s trying to find out what the issues are, he doesn’t tell people what the issues are, he is out there trying to find out what the issues are,” Taylor said.
Matejka has retired from the Great Plains Labor Council and said he plans to work on more social justice for Not In Our Town.
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