Normal resident Mike Matejka is 2017’s recipient of Illinois State University’s Grabill-Homan Peace Prize.
Matejka, a 1974 Illinois State graduate in history, was cited for his work with Not In Our Town, the local anti-discrimination effort. He is currently serving on boards or committees with the Autism Friendly Community, Easter Seals, McLean County Museum of History, the Illinois Labor History Society, the Children’s Christmas Party for Unemployed Families, and Secretary of State Jesse White’s “Life Goes On” organ donation effort. With the Town of Normal he is on the Planning Commission and for the Town’s 2040 Planning Commission he serves on the Humanitarian and Social Aspects Committee. With Illinois State University he is on the Construction Management Advisory Council and on the joint ISU-Illinois Wesleyan University Stevenson Committee.
Previously he served on the boards of the Illinois Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the Ecology Action Center, the Illinois Farm Worker Service Center, the Illinois Labor Press Association, and was a founding member of the Central Illinois Food Bank.
Matejka is the governmental affairs director for the Great Plains Laborers District Council, serving 13,000 union laborers in Central Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota. Since 1980, he has also edited the Grand Prairie Union News, the labor publication for local union members. He is a Laborers International Union of North America Local 362 member.
Noha Shawki, director of the Peace and Conflict Resolution Studies at Illinois State, commented that Matejka “has impressed me with his empathy, his compassion, his leadership, and his commitment to peacemaking and to community service.”
The Grabill-Homan Peace Prize is named in honor of history professors Joseph Grabill and Gerlof Homan, who co-founded the Peace Studies Program at Illinois State in 1990. The Prize is awarded annually to a member of the Bloomington-Normal community who has demonstrated commitment to community peace and justice activities.