Abdullah Ali, founder of Tarbyyatt ul Haqq Ministries, has a plan for the inner city of Toledo. He wants to financially educate as many young people as possible, while simultaneously, purchase properties to provide affordable housing to those areas.
He began moving in that direction when his organization, C.E.R.P.P, Community Extraction Relocation & Protection Program, hosted a financial literacy program, conducted by administration from the Woodforest National Bank. Held on Wednesday, January 8, at Toledo Masjid Al-Islam, 722 E. Bancroft, Mr. Ali believes one of the keys to independence starts with financial literacy.
Some of the topics discussed during the interactive program, included the difference between banks, and credit unions, managing a savings, and checking account, how to use, and get the most out of prepaid cards, and understanding the difference between reloadable cards, and debit cards.
“Establishing, and keeping an active account, as well as building credit, are a few of the best ways to better your situation,” Mr. Ali told The Toledo Journal.
Bobbie Jo Elder, branch manager at Woodforest National Bank, said they would also be teaching on how to access credit reports, and increase credit scores.
“Although technology has made everything easier, including banking, there are a lot of people who don’t understand how to use that technology to their benefit; so we help people access that benefit,” she said.
Pamela Banner found out about the event on social media. “This is a really good event. Everyone should look at ways at educating themselves on finances. And even though this is a free event, I would’ve paid for it, if it wasn’t free.”
Future ventures, of the non-profit organization include pairing young people up with professionals so they can shadow them at their place of employment.
C.E.R.P.P also has other ventures aimed at bettering the community; one of which is includes distributing food at their food pantry.
“My other goal includes purchasing, and rehabbing properties in order to provide good, and affordable housing to those living in the inner city,” Mr. Ali said.
For more information, Mr. Ali can be reached at 419.975.8618.
In this late date, when so many mainstream churches are on the decline, Pastor Dr. Ronald O. Walker Trail; Sr.Th. D., said, “God Almighty has inspired me to start a new church.” So, along with his wife and Co-Pastor Rhonda Weber-Walker Trail, who has also inspired the two licenses, certified, and experienced theologians, did just that. On Sunday, September 1, 2019 they held their first service in the Collingwood Presbyterian Church at 1208 Collingwood Blvd., their new temporary church home.
One month later, on Sunday October 3, 2019, a new chapter in Toledo’s Afro-American Church history began with the ‘Dedication to the Ministry of the Lord’ in the city’s newest church, ‘God’s House International Worship Center,’
An excited Dr. Trail said, “This church is all about God and not about us. We feel we can help the churches that are already here and we want to partner with those churches that are actually doing something to help God’s people and people in general. We want people to come to know Jesus Christ. All those who are disenfranchised, disconnected, and dislocated now have a place to come where they will feel wanted, needed, and loved.”
He added,“At ‘God’s House International Worship Center, we teach the principals of the Bible and want people to know the Bible so they can grow spiritually. Our concern here is spiritual growth and not so much on entertainment, but the learning the word of God is the most important thing.”
The actual dedication service began with the singing of hymns by the congregation and an opening prayer and remarks by Pastor Dr. Ronald O. Walker Trail; Sr. This was followed by the reading of the Scripture by Elder Alice Williams.
Next, Co-Pastor Rhonda Weber-Walker Trail introduced and defined The Eagle’s Trailblazer Award to the congregation. The Eagle’s Trailblazer Award, which is in its first year is an award that is given to a person, who is recognized for the work they’ve done in the city, to help others. The award comes from the Trailblazers Association who chooses the recipient of the award. This year’s recipient and the first person to receive the award was, Dr. Pat McKinstry, Pastor of the Worship Center Church.
After the reading of the definition Dr. McKinstry was presented her award by Pastor Dr. Ronald O. Walker Trail.
Moving right along it was time for the dedication of the church into God’s service lead by Dr. McKinstry. First Elder Karen Trail read aloud the church’s bio, Mission Statement, and vision statement for the future. Then Dr. McKinstry and several other visiting pastors commissioned, prayed and asked Gods blessing for the church and laid holy hands of anointing on Pastor Dr. Ronald O. Walker Trail and Co-Pastor Rhonda Weber-Walker Trail. Afterwards, the two exhilarated pastors lifted up their hands to sky and praised the Lord for his goodness and mercy.
To finish the day, the two newly anointed pastors conducted an Ordination of Minister Karen Trail and Elder Alice Williams into the church’s ministry. The service ended with remarks from visiting ministers and closing remarks of gratitude and thanksgiving from Co-Pastor Rhonda Weber-Walker Trail.
She said, “God laid it on my heart the mission of ‘God’s House International Worship Center,’ as well as, a few other things I’m formulating. He wanted us to start a ministry that teaches the word of God and to teach and give understanding to the saint on how to operate in the word of God. We not only want to have an impact inside our church but outside the wall of the church as well. We want all to see God’s glory manifested in their own personal lives and that is our purpose. We teach people to not only to hear the word but to also to be doers of the word of God in their life.”
‘God’s House International Worship Center’ has service every Sunday at 12:00 noon the Collingwood Presbyterian Church, 1208 Collingwood Blvd and the public is invited to come. They also have Bible Study every Wednesday at 6:30 pm at the same location, For more information call the church at 615-983-1007.
The University of Toledo hosted over 500 local high school students from public and parochial schools on Wednesday, September 18 as a part of their Annual International Human Trafficking and Social Justice Conference.
The conference, which celebrated its 16th year, has welcomed high school students to campus for the last six years. Anna Schramm, Research Assistant at the University’s Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute, said that conference organizers were purposeful in creating an opportunity to address teenagers.
“Six years ago, when we decided to start the high school day, we realized that these were the people we were really needing to get in front of because they’re the ones who are confronting this issue; their friends might be dealing with it, they might come in contact with it,” Ms. Schramm said. “So, we really wanted to make them aware of [human trafficking] and then hopefully they learn something and take it back to their schools and spread the word.”
The day for the high schoolers started en masse with a Human Trafficking 101 session presented by Kizzy Williams, a Toledo area social worker and victim advocate, who provides legal advocacy services to victims of sex and labor trafficking. During the session, Ms. Williams spoke to the students about relationship warning signs, victim grooming, and how predators use social media to target vulnerable youth.
Among the sea of students and teachers in the Thompson Student Union Auditorium was Community Activist and Educator Mona Al-Hayani, who attended the conference, with nearly 50 students from Toledo Early College High School. This included members of the Young Women for Change student organization who will be presenting along with Al-Hayani in November at the Ohio State House for the Ohio Human Trafficking Prevention Youth Summit.
“It’s so important to have students come to conferences talking about human trafficking and the risk factors and how social media plays into tracking vulnerable youth,” Ms. Al-Hayani said. “Our students think that they’re invincible. Conferences like this makes them see that they are vulnerable.”
Sarah Sahmarani, senior student and president of Young Women for Change at Toledo Early College, said it was important for students to attend the conference especially for those who identify as female. Ms. Sahmarani said that young women needed to be active in the fight against human trafficking.
“It’s really important to empower women and girls to stand up and realize that they have a voice and can make a difference. They can make a change and stand up for themselves,” she said.
Following the opening group session, the high school students’ day rounded out with pre-selected breakout sessions, lunch, and the naming of winners from both the spoken word and visual art contest.
Art contestant and Maumee High School junior Jadyn Greisiger wrote that her digital art piece was meant to highlight the misconceptions that all human trafficking victims are female and victimized by strangers. She said that many victims are males and most people being trafficked were manipulated and abused by people they had come to be in relationship with on some level.
“Sadly, things such as ‘You have nowhere else to go’ or ‘No one else will love you’ and even physical abuse are used to keep the victim captive and vulnerable,” Ms. Greisiger wrote. “I tried my best to show that sex trafficking and abuse isn’t always as black and white as many people view it to be.”
The final two days of the conference were sold out and the University of Toledo saw nearly 1200 people attend 75 breakout sessions that focused on diverse topics including research, direct services, legal and law enforcement, and survivor stories. Dr. Celia Williamson, Distinguished University Professor and director of the University’s Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute said the following in a statement to the press.
are proud so many people want to learn about human trafficking. Our conference
brings sex and labor trafficking out of the shadows and helps end abuse. More
than ever before, we have the opportunity to educate, collaborate, and save
lives,” Dr. Williamson said.
25th Annual 50+ Sports Classic sponsored by the Area Office on Aging
and YMCA of Greater Toledo took place on Saturday, September 14 across multiple
venues in Toledo and Maumee. The opening ceremony was held at the Wolf Creek
and their families gathered bright and early at the flag pole in front of the
YMCA to celebrate the upcoming day’s events. Mr. Cole spoke of the power of
healthy living and community as he emceed the program that included brief
speeches, a youth hip hop dance, and the lighting of the torch by Area Office
of Aging Director/CEO, Billie Johnson and Wolf Creek YMCA District Vice
President Melanie Grohowski.
to event organizer Justin Moor, Vice President of Planning and Program
Development at the Area Office on Aging, the Sports Classic was the vision of
Director Billie Johnson and an incredible testament to aging well.
is a really inspirational day where we see positive images of aging –
shattering a lot of myths people have about what it means to be age 50 and
better,” Mr. Moor said. “In the past, we’ve had 50-year-olds dunking,
90-year-olds running the 100-meter dash, and everything in between, so it’s a
really great day.”
200 athletes, ages 50 plus, participated in the classic on Saturday. The
participants competed in over 10 sports including bowling, tennis, golf, track
and field, swimming, pickle ball, and basketball. Each sports competition was
divided into age groups and awards were given to the winners within each age
asked about the importance of the event to the athletes and community at large,
Ms. Johnson said that, the event was so important in motivating retirees to
engage in activities that improve their overall health.
are delighted to promote health and wellness and this is what this is all about
– to get our 50 plus population out here to be a role model for other retirees
in our community so that, we can be healthy, live long, and be as independent
as possible,” Ms. Johnson said.
the organizers had their reasons for sponsoring the event, the participating
athletes each had their own reasons for competing as well. Terri Wolf, age 60,
received a flyer in the mail about the event and said she saw it as a great
opportunity to challenge herself at the precipice of a new decade in her life.
had a hard time turning 60 so I decided I’m going to go do this. This looks
really fun, and I love being active. And so that’s what got me into it, and I’m
doing it again in Albuquerque, New Mexico as well.”
Marable, 52, said her youngest daughter was the catalyst for her participation.
“My daughter forced me. She bullied me,” laughed Ms. Marable who won her heat
in the 100-meter dash.
daughter runs at University of Cincinnati, and I always used to push her so she
said ‘Oh, you’re going to do this mom’ so I did,” Ms. Marable said.
Oliver Sr. woke up nursing a hamstring injury but pushed himself to compete to
honor his childhood friend whom he reconnected with at last year’s 50+ Senior
came today in honor of my friend, who passed away 6 months ago, Charlie Ollie
who the last time we were here had a great day. He earned 6 or 7 medals, and I
hadn’t seen him in about 15 years so I had to be here today for him,” Mr.
competition started at 8:00 a.m. and continued well into the afternoon.
Interested athletes 50 years and older are encouraged to begin training for
next year’s competition now, which participant Stephanie Marable said is a
great way to stay fit, have fun, and meet others in the same age range who are
doing the same.
On Saturday, September 7, 2019, the weather was impeccable as was
the setting for an outdoor concert and one last summer season fling. On that
day deep in the woods at 11:00 am, in The Ottawa Park’s Amphitheater, the 5th Annual
Great Lakes Jazz Festival got underway with a ten-hour jazz concert.
The audience was exposed to several types and styles of jazz music
and it was like the old saying, ‘How time flies when you’re having fun.’ This
evidently was the motto for the majority of the audience, who attended the
concert, the bulk of the audience stayed for the entire ten hours. It was like
a mini version of the Woodstock concert in Toledo, only with a different genre
of music and different kind of audience.
The musicians on the roster were all accomplished, polished,
professionals, a fact that would be very evident doing their performance. Also,
if you got hungry, there were vendors selling food and beverages at the door.
Again why leave, it was the perfect event on a perfect day.
The show kicked off with The Skip Turner Band featuring vocalist
and recording artist, Deborah Gardner. She has also performed here in Toledo
with Rev. Dr. Derrick E. Roberts (deceased),
the Sir Kalvin Hughes Trio, The Jamm Band and many others all around the United
Skip Turner also granted a guest spot in his set to Toledo’s
self-taught musical child prodigy Gregory Buchanan Jr., who sings, plays the
piano and the organ, several types of guitars, and the drums. He’s only just
beginning and we are sure to hear more from him in the future.
Skip Turner started playing trumpet as a teenager here in Toledo.
He went on to become the lead trumpeter playing tradition jazz standard at
Toledo area clubs.
Next up was from Detroit, MI. was Jerome Clark and Friends
featuring Dave McMurray on Sax and vocalist Audrey Northington. Guitarist
Jerome Clark is well known in the Detroit, MI music scene and he has performed
at Bakers Keyboard Lounge for the past two decades as well as many other
engagements in the area. In 2009 he completed ‘Water’ his first CD.
Audrey Northington (AKA the Scat Diva), who is currently appearing
at Bakers Keyboard Lounge, has been referred to as the female Al Jarreau or
little Ella Fitzgerald because of her sassy approach to the blues.
They were followed by the Latin Jazz Players a group from Lorain,
OH. They call it the Latin infused Jazz Sound and currently have a CD
Next came the Mike Fageros Quartet. Guitarist Mike Fageros is a
headliner at Bakers Keyboard Lounge in Detroit, which is the oldest jazz venue
in America. His style of playing is best described a cross between postmodern
bop, soul jazz, acid jazz straight ahead and the avant-garde without belonging
to any the above categories.
Appearing last but not lease was the headliner of the show, Dean
James of Houston TX., who is both an alto and soprano saxophonist, and he is
about to release his filth solo project entitled ‘GROOVEY SAX’,. Here he
introduces another level of original compositions, combined with all the
elements that make up a diverse and exciting listening experience. This project
is a unique blend of Smooth Jazz, R&B, Latin and Popular music that sets
apart his own signature style and sound. Born and raised in San Francisco, Dean
James began to play the saxophone at the age of fifteenth.
Somewhere between all the music the Great Lakes Jazz Festival
committee took care of business and awarded the’ Great Lakes Jazz Enthusiast
Award’ to Toledo’s own Clifford Murphy of the nationally recognizes Jazz Club,
Murphy’s Place in downtown Toledo. They also awarded the ‘Great Lakes Jazz
Festival Scholarship Fund’ to the Central Academy of Ohio. Monies for this
educational scholarship are derived from a portion of the ticket sales of the
Great Lakes Jazz Festivals itself. In addition, three audience member won cash
prizes in the raffle that was going on during the show. They were Marlene
Davis, Bruce Cock, and Mark McBee.
The 5th Annual Great Lakes Jazz Festival was produced by Jazz
Enthusiast, Radio Host, and DJ, Hugh Ross, who is also known as, The H-Factor.
He said, “My dream was to have a festival in Toledo with four or five different
genres of jazz, and here it is today. I’m glad the weather cooperated with us
and hopefully, this will continue to grow. Toledo has a rich history of jazz
such as Art Tatum Jr. and others. My goal is to reach everybody and turn them
on to the world of jazz.”
He went to say, “Toledo has all other genres of music on the radio except jazz, so soon I will have the H-Factor Jazz Show online @ hfactorjazzshow.com. Hugh Ross also said, “Keep your eyes open because we have more Jazz Events coming in the near future!”
Hackley Family Reunion 50th Anniversary was held on July 26-29 in San Diego,
California. Nearly 75 direct descendants and extended family members of
Archibald and Hazel Mae Hackley converged on the city from Maryland, Georgia,
Ohio, Florida, California, Pennsylvania, and Texas to celebrate and fellowship
together for three days of planned family events and activities.
established in Toledo, Ohio in 1969 by Glaudius Hackley Hudson Stewart, one of
the seven children born to Archibald and Hazel Mae Hackley, the Hackley Family Reunion
now occurs every other year and rotates cities and chairpersons. The 50th
Anniversary reunion was chaired by Archibald and Hazel Mae Hackley’s great-granddaughter
asked about the importance of the reunion, Ms. Fields said, “There’s something about being in a room
filled with people that you like and love, who also like and love you. The love
and laughter continually flows and pours into our spirits, filling us up until
the next time we meet and have the opportunity to love on each other once
October 24, 1913 in Toledo, Ohio, Archibald and Hazel Mae Hackley built a lasting
legacy of faith, family, and hard work. Mr. Hackley was born in Jolliet,
Illinois in 1886 and later attended the Michigan Conservatory of Music. He was
the church organist and a member of the famous Abyssinian Quartet at Third
Baptist Church. Mr. Hackley was also among the first black U.S. Postman in
Toledo. Born in 1896 in Dayton, Ohio, Mrs. Hackley was described by her
daughter Glaudius (now deceased) as a consummate stay at home mother who
possessed a “quiet, yet forceful set of principles.” The Hackleys had seven
children: Evelyn, Glaudius, Archibald, Athalstine, Melvin, Phyllis, and Ursula.
It is their descendants who carry on the reunion tradition.
Edvelyn Webster (great-granddaughter) said that the reunions were a blessing
and “treasured legacy” initiated 50 years ago by her great Aunt Glaudius. Another
great-granddaughter of the Hackleys, Julianne Banks-Pearson said, “Our family
reunions are life-giving! Coming together and experiencing the love we have for
each other makes my heart smile.”
and activities during the Hackley Family Reunion weekend included a rooftop Meet
and Greet, Beach Day, Bowling Night, Trolley Tour, Family Program and Banquet,
and Farewell Breakfast. The Family Program and Banquet was emceed by the
Hackley Family Chaplain Jason Banks who delivered a stirring family address
encouraging all, but especially the young attendees, to continue the tradition
of gathering together for generations to come.
“It doesn’t matter where we go, I always enjoy the family reunions! These are God-given special moments that can’t be replaced,” Mr. Banks said. “To quote my late father, ‘I can’t afford to attend family reunions; but I can’t afford not to.”
Mike Colbert, and Franklin Park Lincoln, aren’t strangers to the community. Over the years they’ve sponsored events that either provided free haircuts to children, or made sure families received gifts and food at Christmas time.
On Saturday, August 10, Mr. Colbert, and Franklin Park Lincoln, struck again, when they hosted their third annual book bag, and school supply giveaway. Held at Tabernacle of Faith, 701 Central Avenue, their goal was to outdo the number of children they served the previous year.
A salesman at Franklin Park Lincoln, Mr. Colbert told, The Toledo Journal, he’s giving back to the community because so many of people have purchased cars from him over the years, and he felt that sponsoring a charitable event would be a good way to show his appreciation.
The charitable cause didn’t stop at the book bags. Each one was filled with schools supplies, and hygiene products such as a toothbrush, and toothpaste.
Further, each child
was treated to free hamburgers, hot dogs, potato chips, and a drink.
“Look, if anyone is in a position to do host some type of charitable cause, then they should, because many of the kids are in need,” Mr. Colbert said. Pulling in to the giveaway, which was held in the parking lot of the church, was a bus filled with 23 children from Grace Community Center. Jay Shavers, youth, and facility director, said once he found out about the event, and knew he had to make sure some of the children at the center could obtain those supplies.
“We selected many of the children who were already attending our summer program, to come today and receive those supplies. Something like this really helps the parents,” he said.
Mr. Colbert extended a thank you to those who helped make the event successful. Those sponsors included, The Toledo Journal who provided the hamburgers, buns, and chips, Dr. Frankel Dentistry, who provided toothbrushes, and toothpaste, and Rudy’s Hot Dog on Monroe St., who supplied the hot dogs. Two of the managers were in attendance, helping to fire up the grill, and get the hot dogs started.
Brittany Tyner said, “It feels good to be a part of helping others, especially children.”
“It’s been our
pleasure to help out over the past three years,” said Melissa Wyman. “When it
comes to community outreach, we try to help as much as possible,” she said.
On Saturday, August 10, 2019, more than 200 central city students and their parents participated in Calvary Missionary Baptist Church’s Third Annual Book Bag Give-Away at the church located at 702 Collingwood Blvd.
The giving away of book bags was really only a small part of what was a much larger community event. However, providing the students with book bags with supplies, so they could be prepared for the first day of school was the main objective of the day.
Dr. Romules Durant, CEO/Superintendent of Toledo Public Schools,
who was present for the activities, explained why students having a book bag on
the first day of school is so important. He said, “Kids really don’t own much
in life, unlike adults who when they buy their first house or car, have pride
in the ownership. For kids, on the first day of school, their pride in
ownership is their book bag and supplies. It is something they own and they do
a show and tell with the other kids”.
“The worst scenario is when on the first day of school the teacher says ‘let’s get started, take out your pencil and write this down,’ and one kid doesn’t have any supplies, while all the rest of the kids do. This can lead to anxiety and depression for a student on the first day of school because they don’t have their proper school supplies to get started with the class. Having their own supplies brings about a sense of anatomy and a sense of pride and ownership,” he said.
Beside free Book-Bags, there were free clothing give away, free face painting, free horseback riding, and free food. There was also entertainment from the Party Crashers (a Character for Hire Service) they brought along a Mascot the famous comic book character, The Black Panther (David Miles). He mingled with and amused the kids, while passing out Super Hero stickers, to all of the young people. For spiritual uplifting there was Gospel music from the Glass City Disciples.
Also, all the free Book-Bags came fully stocked with all the needed school supplies and were ready to go. All you had to be is a school-aged student and you qualify for a free book-bag!
Deacon Willie Tucker, the church chairman for the Give-Away
explained, “This whole thing started when we used to have a community picnic
and we gave away five bicycles. There was a little boy who really wanted a
bicycle but he didn’t get one, and he was so disappointed. So, one of our
sponsors suggested we give away something where a lot more kids could benefit
from our events, and he suggested a book-bag giveaway. So that’s what we did
and this is our third year doing so, and it’s been very successful. This year,
we will give away over 200 book-bags with supplies”.
“That sponsor, Williams Homes, who suggested we give out book-bags is still with us today, along with some of our other sponsors. As, we as a church, reach out to serve the community around us. We are grateful to our sponsors for their help and donations. God has blessed us and we are just passing that blessing on”, said the Deacon.
Rev. Floyd Smith Jr., the pastor of Calvary Missionary Baptist Church commented about the giveaways saying, “Our title is Calvary Missionary Baptist Church, and what missionary means is that we must reach out beyond these four walls into the community and try to bring people to Jesus Christ. We also try help with their spiritual needs as well as with their physical needs”.
“I believe with this give-away, we touching some lives and we are giving the kids what they need to be successful. If we can plant that seed, even a little bitty mustard seed will grow into a great big giant tree. That’s is what we are trying to do today, plant those seeds,” said the pastor.
Books 4 Buddies
[B4B] with special participation by the Toledo Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity,
Inc. hosted a Back to School Block Party on July 17 in the Birmingham Terrace
The Back to School Block
Party provided families with free school supplies, vision screening, and a
cookout lunch as well as arts, crafts, and face painting. Community partner
Toledo Public Schools was also on hand to offer kindergarten and Head Start
registration to attendees.
As a non-profit organization
dedicated to promoting literacy and reading, Books 4 Buddies collects new and
gently used books for disadvantaged youth. The brainchild of Toledo native, Touré McCord
II, B4B has several media/community partnerships and receives support in the
form of new and “gently used” donations from local businesses,
bookstores, and the general public.
Bob Mendenhall, Executive
Director of Curriculum and Instruction in Toledo Public Schools and B4B Board
Member said that the event was in line with the school district’s commitment to
We’ve been doing these
community events for the last 5 or 6 years. We go to various LMHA sites along
with community partners to bring awareness to their programs as well as bring
awareness to what we do in Toledo Public regarding early childhood, Head Start
registration, kindergarten registration and information about the district,”
Mr. Mendenhall said. “The main piece of this is that we promote literacy. At
the end of last school year, we had our Chromebook giveaway to promote literacy
and to help combat summer slide. And this is another program that we do in
which we giveaway gently used books to help families build their own libraries
in the home.
Along with all the other
activities, the B4B Book Ambassadors dressed in bright orange shirts read
children’s books to the Block Party’s youngest attendees. As the program’s public
face, Book Ambassadors act as reading role models to the community and are all
high school age young men from across Northwest Ohio.
When asked why he wanted to be involved with B4B,
Book Ambassador John Dolsey said a friend recommended the program and
guaranteed a positive experience.
“He said this is something I would love to do, and
he was right. I love it,” Mr. Dolsey said. “[B4B] resonates with me. I’m
actually dyslexic so I love reading to kids. I love seeing the impact it has on
kids, and I love giving away books.”
The next Books for Buddies Back to School Block Party will be held at the Weiler Homes on July 31 from 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. All LMHA families are invited to join Books 4 Buddies for free books, school supplies, and lunch.
Widows Empowered Strengthened & I, Inc., W.E.S. & I, Inc., hosted their second annual, “Uniforms on the Runway,” fundraiser. Held on Sunday, June 23, in the Great Hall of the Stranahan Theater, 4645 Heatherdowns Blvd, servicemen and women, of the United States Army, modeled various types of attire.
In addition, there was a keynote address by a member of the organization, Maryanna Oien, regarding the tragic loss of her husband, and how she dealt with that incident. There was live music from the “Intuition,” band featuring “Lady K,” and dinner served by The Club 300.
Nine men and two women from the United States Army modeled for three scenes; casual wear, after five wear, and uniform wear.
The purpose of the event, according to Laurie Sanders, fundraising chairperson, is to help support women, financially, emotionally, academically, whose husbands passed away.
“Not only does the loss of a husband is emotionally devastating, but financially as well,” she told The Toledo Journal.
“Society is used to seeing those who defend us in their uniforms. But we wanted people to see them without the uniforms, to kind of show the human side of those in the army,” Ms. Sanders said.
Marian Idell Watson is the founder, and CEO of the organization. She formed the organization shortly after the passing of her husband, Wesley J. Watson in 2014. Further, Mr. Watson was a 20 year veteran of the Toledo Police Department, who was also the motivation of their first fundraising event, in 2018 that, had members of the police, fire, and Sheriff’s Department serving as the models.
“Many women develop Heartbreak Syndrome after the passing of their husband,” Ms. Watson said. “It’s real, and unfortunately many women pass shortly after the passing of their husbands. So our organization seeks to add comfort to those women in any way we can. We don’t want to see them lose their life,” she said.
The Toledo Journal is Northwest Ohio's oldest African American owned weekly newspaper. We represent the voices of our local community, Northwest Ohio, and under served populations with an unapologetic vigor.