“Everyone wanted to be his child, or grandchild, or nephew, or they want to claim a relationship to him, because he would give you the shirt off his back; that’s how loving my dad is,” Bobby Nunn, Sr. told The Toledo Journal about his father, John Gray.
More accolades were conveyed at the 80th birthday celebration of Mr. Gray on Saturday, September 15. Held at Calvary Bible Chapel, 3740 West Alexis, his birthday wasn’t until November 30, but Mr. Nunn said they wanted to hold it earlier, in order to give family from out of town the opportunity to attend, while the weather was nice.
From Indiana, Tennessee, Illinois, and Wisconsin, love ones traveled to celebrate the life of their beloved.
The father of four children, Dorothy Gray, Jennifer Gray, Robin Nunn and Bobby Nunn Sr., and a host of grandchildren, and great grandchildren, Mr. Gray retired in 2004 after serving 28 years as a Deputy Sheriff, and is an active member of Jerusalem Baptist Church.
On why her father is deserving of the party, Robin Nunn said, “Regardless of how many times we, his children, failed him, or let him down, he never turned his back on us. He would simply say, ‘Maybe that particular thing isn’t for you; let’s try something else;’ now that’s real love.”
“I love this party,” Mr. Gray said. “My family told me to expect a lot of people, and sure enough, a lot of people came. Normally, when you hear, expect a lot of people, a lot of people don’t show up, but they did today, and that made me feel loved.”
The only thing he said he wanted for his birthday was to still be in good health.
“The feeling of being loved, like I am by my family, is a good feeling that everyone needs to experience” Mr. Gray said.
One in eight women are affected by breast cancer and five of these affected women will pass away each week. African American women are also 40 percent more likely to die from breast cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.
While these numbers may be frightening, there is still hope. Susan G. Komen of Northwest Ohio has donated over $17 million to breast cancer research and local services, providing for thousands of local women. Twenty five percent of the collected donations are donated to cancer research, while 75 percent supports breast cancer awareness and preparedness in Northwest Ohio.
This year, thousands gathered at the 25th annual Toledo Race for the Cure Sept. 30 in downtown Toledo. The event is held to raise breast cancer awareness and to celebrate survivors.
The 2018 race specifically honored survivor Rena Raga and the memory of Kelli Andres, wife and mother, who passed away this year.
The day’s events included a Kid Zone at Fifth Third Field, a Survivor Parade, and a survivor ribbon photo taken with a flying drone. New this year was a survivor’s trolley that transported those who could not participate in the race.
About 20,000 people came to walk, run, volunteer, or watch the race which continues to support the foundation’s $1 million fundraising goal each year.
That goal is well on its way to being reached, considering the 10,000 paid participants as well as a $55,000 donation from Ford Motor Company towards the continued research for the cure.
“Purchasing someone online, from the dark web, for sex trafficking, is as easy as buying a pizza,” Dr. Jesse Bach, of Cleveland State University, told The Toledo Journal. Dr. Bach, on long with numerous professionals from around the world, presented their research about Human Trafficking, and how to combat it, during a two day conference, held on Thursday, September 20, and Friday, September 21, in the University of Toledo’s, Lancelot Thompson, Student Union.
Over 100 workshops were conducted addressing issues either, indigenous to Toledo, and the United States, or more specifically, in countries such as India, or on the continents of Europe, and Africa.
Several workshop topics were, “Romance and Manipulation,” “Characteristics of Federal Offenders Sentenced for Child Molestation and Sentencing Outcomes,” “Early Childhood Sexual Abuse and Foster Care: A Survivors Perspective,” and “Parents as Perpetrators: Intergenerational Sex Trafficking in Rural India.”
Dr. Celia Williamson, director of the Lucas County Human Traffic Coalition said the ripple effect of the conference has been felt around the world. Laws have been enacted, task forces developed, and programs put into place to help victims, and apprehend perpetrators. One of her goals, she said, is to live stream the conference in parts of the world, such as Africa, that’s plagued with human trafficking,
On the topic of the local Pastors accused of human trafficking, Dr. Williamson said, some church members seem to be more concerned with how the girls, who were trafficked, contributed to their situation, as opposed to the fact that Pastors were involved with underage girls for the sex trade.
“No matter what, the lives of the children come first. If the Pastors are found guilty, some can pray that their souls go to heaven, but their asses are going to jail,” she said.
Motivated by the fact that her stepfather was a human trafficker, was a social worker who, asked that her identity be kept anonymous. She said she grew up watching her stepdad manipulate, and abuse her mom. She learned first-hand the tactics, and language used by perpetrators of human trafficking.
“Traffickers will say things such as, ‘No one else will take care of you, or your daughter, but me.’ Traffickers will also become the main supplier of toys, school supplies, and other things, in a child’s life, in order to keep the mom dependent, and loyal to him.”
Dr. Tyffani Manford Dent, a licensed psychologist, has been working in the field of sex trafficking for over 20 years, conducted a workshop on, “Not #MeToo: How Gender-based Work and Micro/Macro-aggressions Impede Trafficking Survivors of Color from Accessing Services.”
She explained that, although the #MeToo movement was developed by an African American woman, for African American women, once it went nationally, and accepted by white women, African American women haven’t gained the benefits of it.
Dr. Manford-Dent said the services, and benefits that have come about, due to the movement, have been geared toward white women.
Counseling, and other services for the victims of any type of sexual crime, has been established in white suburban areas. Even those who work in the field are recruited from white suburban areas, Dr. Manford-Dent said.
“Sadly, some survivors lives, white suburban women, are more valued then African American women who are survivors of sex crimes; which is all deliberate,” she said.
“The first step at resolving this problem is recognizing it exist; only then can we move forward to resolution,” Dr. Manford-Dent said.
Second Baptist Church, located at 9300 Western Maumee Road in Monclova, Ohio celebrated the 10th Pastoral anniversary of their leadership, Dr. Jerry and First Lady Debra Boose. Held on Sunday, September 23 at their church, visitors from other religious communities, as well as leadership from the political community were in attendance.
Divided in two services, Dr. Nathan Prochere of Tree of Life Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan, delivered the word for the morning service, while Pastor Tm Pettaway of Walk the Word Ministries, located in Toledo, delivered the afternoon service.
Proclamations from political leadership, tokens of love from the religious community, and an all-expense paid cruise, from the members of Second Baptist Church, were amongst the many gifts presented.
And although the day was about the leadership of Second Baptist Church, Dr. and First Lady Boose, made sure many of the guests, as well as the members of the church, received gifts as well.
Kaye Williams, chairperson for the 10th Pastoral anniversary explained to The Toledo Journal why Dr. and First Lady Boose were deserving of the celebration, and gifts.
She said that, when we first started out, the church was located in a small building. Over the years membership began to grow, and to accommodate that growth, a church, with 10 ½ acres was purchased.
“Dr. Boose has taught that the ministry of Christ should be delivered outside the walls of the church,” she said. “He has been instrumental in a lot of community programs throughout the area, including job readiness programs, working with those with drug and alcohol addiction, and feeding the homeless. He’s an example for both the religious and secular community,” Mrs. Williams explained.
And unlike many wives of a Pastor, First Lady Boose recently returned to the work force. Between her duties at the church, and at her place of employment, she said she’s in a better position to serve the community.
“I’m able to see the struggles, as well as the character of this new generation. There’s a greater need to minister to them, and show that many of the things they engage in, and consider cool, aren’t beneficial for them,” she said.
“Today has been very beautiful. I’m proud of the leadership in the church for making it a success,” Dr. Boose told the congregation.
The retired fireman, who served his community for 30 years, still finds time to give back.
“I still work because Jesus said make disciples. I’m supposed to work, and educate the people on who they really are. Part of my mandate is to show them how to take back what they enemy has taken from them,” Dr. Boose said.
For 25 years, the Area Office on Aging, AOA, along with their community partners, have been hosting the Senior Safari at the Toledo Zoo. Encouraging a healthy lifestyle, while re-visiting the zoo, all in an entertaining environment is the purpose of the event. But for 2018, participants received much more when the entertainment on Tuesday, September 18, was Motown’s The Vandellas.
Before being entertained by the legends of Motown, Billie Johnson, President/CEO of AOA, told The Toledo Journal that attendees were first, encouraged to participate in a one mile walk around the zoo. September is “Falls Prevention Month,” she said, and the walk is to bring awareness to falls, and ways to prevent them. Also, the walk encouraged exercising, as one of the ways to help build muscle, and bone, both of which, could help decrease the chances of falling.
“We’re hoping those who participate in the walk, each take at least 10,000 steps today,” Mrs. Johnson said. “One of our partners, Silver Sneakers, donated 100 pedometers, so seniors can keep track of their steps,” she said.
Sarah Vandevender, a pharmacist, said, various things can contribute to falls, such as dizziness. Some medications, as well as having low sodium, and potassium, could increase the chances of falling. Low magnesium, she said, could lead to muscle cramps, which could also increase the chances of falling.
“Always, speak to your pharmacist, or primary care physician, first, about taking preventive measures,” she said.
Following the one mile walk, Silver Sneakers, had four stations set up along the route to the Malawi Event Center, where vendors, lunch, and the performance by The Vandellas would take place. At each station, seniors would roll large dice that had six different exercises on each side. Jumping jacks, lunges, and leg lifts, were among some of the exercises that participants were encourage to do. Every senior that participated in an exercise, at each station, would receive a free gift.
Once inside the Malawi Center, numerous vendors focusing on healthy lifestyle, or services offered to seniors, passed out information about what they offered, gave health screenings, or distributed free fruit.
After a healthy lunch, attendees were treated to 30 minute performance by The Vandellas, in which many seniors could be seen dancing to the group’s songs.
At the entrance into the zoo, seniors prepare for their one mile walk. The goal of the day was each walker tries to reach 10,000 steps.
The fourth annual, Dorr St. Live was held on Saturday, August 25, at the corner of Dorr, and Collingwood. According to the sponsoring agent, the African American Legacy Project, said it has a mission to document the history of the area, and help revitalize a once, financially lucrative community.
Local entertainment and some from out of town, kept a crowd that, brought their folding chairs to the event, and sat right in the grass, entertained throughout the day.
Food trucks, owned by African Americans, lined Dorr St. to satisfy the hunger needs of those in attendance.
Vendors selling products from fragrances, to unique purses were also on hand.
A large wooden board sat in the middle of the grass, and was decorated with African American newspapers from far back as the 1940s.
For Robert Smith, director of the African American Legacy Project, this is all just the beginning of a larger scheme he wants to see come into existence.
“This event is not just about having a good time, it’s about documenting our rich history, and helping to revitalize this community,” he told The Toledo Journal.
Partnering with Lucas County Metropolitan Housing, LMHA, the African American Legacy Project, is documenting the life stories of some of those people who grew up in the neighboring housing projects of the Port Lawrence, Brand Whitlocks, McClinton Nuns, and Albertus Browns, and were successful in life.
People such as Frank Goldie, who grew up in the Port Lawrence, and became NW Ohio’s first African American Post Master General, would later become the Post Master General of Chicago.
Katie Bonds, senior vice president of operations at LMHA said, “It’s important for Toledo to know their history. It’s also important for those who are growing up in those projects to know the success stories of those who came before them; it serves as inspiration.”
Extending the message of Christ beyond the church walls, was the motivating factor of Calvary Baptist Church, 702 Collingwood Blvd, for hosting their second book bag, and school supply give-a-way. Held on Saturday, August 11, the event featured more than school supply give-a-way.
Free food, and clothes, as well as games, and horse rides, rounded off the day’s events.
Willie Tucker, chairman of the Deacon Board, told The Toledo Journal that the members of the church wanted to bless the kids who lived in the area of Jones leadership Academy, Ella P. Stewart Academy for Girls and Martin Luther King Academy for Boys, by giving away supplies to help with their education.
Last year, the church gave away 150 book bags, and supplies, and Deacon Tucker said they would like to continue to increase that number.
“Jesus asked us to witness to others, and that’s what we’re trying to do,” he said.
“Many of the kids, who received the supplies, don’t attend Calvary Baptist Church, which is fine with us,” said Deacon Troy Ogle. “So, under the leadership of Floyd Smith Jr., pastor, what we want to do is bridge a gap between the community, and our church,” he said.
“This event is very beneficial,” said Wardell Adams, who brought five of his children to the event. “Events like this are really good for those parents who have more than one child,” he said.
Co-sponsoring the event was businessman, and member of Calvary Baptist Church, Bryan Williams Jr.
Walbridge Park, located on S. Broadway, overlooks the Maumee River. The park has swings, and jungle gyms to keep kids entertained for hours.
An air conditioned shelter house, complete with a functional kitchen, provides that escape from the heat, rain, and annoying bugs.
A mild temperature on Saturday, August 11 was perfect for an outing. But the particular outing wasn’t the typical group. Those attending the picnic were officials of the Lucas County Juvenile Court, as well as, the parents, and their children, some of whom are currently involved in the court system.
The gathering was about building bonds with the families and children, involved in the system, as well as, those officials who work in the court.
Also, the picnic connects parents with others, who are dealing with similar circumstances, to serve as a type of support group.
Free food, games, and a live band help add more serenity, to an already, peaceful environment.
Sponsoring the event was Center for Hope. Dr. Tracee Perryman, CEO, and her mother, Wiletta Perryman, COO, planned the event. Dr. Perryman told The Toledo Journal that the picnic helps build bridges between officials of the court, as well as families. The festive environment helps establish better communications between all parties, that will ultimately, help lead to a potentially better outcome for the families.
Denise Navarre Cubbon, administrative judge at Lucas Juvenile Court, was also in attendance. She engaged many of the families in, one on one, conversation.
“This is one of the most important things the court does,” she said. “We bring the families together, and help them to help their kids make positive changes, in their lives, for the better,” said Judge Cubbon.
Ernest Sanders was enjoying the picnic with his children. “I think this is a good event. It really gives the families and the court an opportunity to establish better communication with one another on how to resolve problems.”
Greater Faith Fellowship Church, 1544 S. Byrne Rd, celebrated the anniversary of their Pastor, Melvin Barnes, as their leader of 17 years. Held on Sunday, May 27th, the milestone event featured local leaders delivering the Word of God, and given testimony about the character of Pastor Barnes.
Patrice Poellnitz, lead trustee, told The Toledo Journal the anniversary celebration started on May 20 when some of the members of Friendship Baptist Church attended the service, while their Pastor, Bishop Dwayne Tisdale, delivered the Word.
May 27th featured two services. Elder Stephen Bufford of Greater Faith Fellowship delivered the morning’s keynote address, while the afternoon service was conducted by Pastor Floyd Smith, Jr. of Calvary Baptist Church.
“Our theme is ‘honoring the leader that watches over our soul,’ and the success of our destiny comes from our Pastor,” Ms. Poellnitz said.
During Pastor Barnes’ 17 year tenor, Ms. Poellnitz said she has seen a tremendous growth in her spiritual development.
“Trust in God, and put Him first in your life, and you will see changes in your life,” she said.
“I’m speechless, and impressed,” Pastor Barnes said, regarding the work put into the celebration. “They put a lot of work into this event, with very little assistance from me,” he said.
Pastor Barnes said that although the congregation is young, they were able to successfully plan and execute the anniversary that people from much more experienced congregations, would be able to do, and that he said, made him proud of his members.
Greater Faith Fellowship Church’s future plans include reestablishing themselves in the inner city in order to better serve the community.
“By having a church, within the inner city, we’ll be able to be a bigger blessing to the community,” Pastor Barnes said.
Lo Salem Missionary Baptist Church congregation hosted the 25th Pastoral Anniversary for their Pastor, Lewis Savage, on Saturday, June 10, 2018, held at Bethlehem Fellowship Center, 1430 Bancroft. The celebration featured a variety of performances, as well as the presence of local religious leaders.
There was a dinner, praise dancing, a gospel comedy show, and the siblings of Pastor Savage sang to him.
In attendance for the celebration was Minister Chris Bryd, and Bishops MC McGee, and Randal Parker.
Arnisha Bush, president of the Pastor’s Aid Committee, told The Toledo Journal why the recognition and celebration was important.
“We have a God fearing man who stepped up to the challenge of leading the church when his father, and our late Pastor, Harvey Savage Sr. passed,” she said. “I’ve been a member all my life, and I follow a man, who loves God, and is always available to the members of the church,” Ms. Bush said.
Judy Savage, member of the Pastor’s Aid Committee, and sister to Pastor Savage said, “He has done so much for the church, me, and my children; that’s just a few reasons why he deserve this celebration.”
First Lady Norma Savage has also diligently served God in the leadership for 25 years, as well as the members of Lo Salem. Although being the wife of Pastor Savage, she has worked in number of capacities around the church, including Sunday school teacher, fundraiser, and janitor.
“I feel great, and honored by the celebration today,” Pastor Savage said. “One of the greatest things that I or anyone can do is spread the Gospel of Christ throughout the world; there’s no work greater.”
Future plans at Lo Salem Missionary Baptist Church include expanding the church facility, opening a center for senior citizens, and youth, and expanding the Martin Luther King Jr. Kitchen for the Poor, Pastor Savage 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.