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Phi Beta Sigma to honor women leaders in education, business, social action

Posted by Johanna Kaiser  February 28, 2013 12:44 PM

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The Suffolk County Alumni Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity is hosting its Annual Tribute to Black Women & Sapphire Awards Ceremony honoring three women dedicated to uplifting others in their communities.

On Thursday, the fraternity will present Sapphire Awards to Dr. Nteri Nelson, an adjunct professor at UMass Boston; Teri Williams, president of One United Bank; and Cindy Diggs, founder of Peace Boston.

Phi Beta Sigma was founded at Howard University in 1914 by three African-American male students and now consists of over 200,000 members with 700 chapters in the US, Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean.

Its Sapphire Award is the chapter’s highest honor given to non-members in the areas of education, business and social action.

Nelson, who will be honored in the area for education, is a professor in UMass Boston’s Africana Studies Department. She is alos the co-founder of The Academy of Kemetic Education and Wellness, Right Relationship Right Knowledge, Ma’at, Inc. in Mattapan where she teaches an African-centered educational model for psychological, spiritual, character and human development.

A licensed clinician, Nelson has worked in the behavioral and mental health field for 30 years and provides counseling and consultation to individuals, families, groups, and agencies

Williams, who will be honored in the area of business, is president and member of the board of directors of OneUnited Bank where she is responsible for strategic initiatives and day-to-day operations. She has worked in financial services for over 25 years and was one of the youngest vice presidents of American Express.

She has also served as treasurer of Roxbury’s Dimock Community Health Center for over 5 years and wrote the book, “I Got Bank! What My Granddad Taught Me About Money,” a financial literacy book for urban youths.

Diggs, fondly known as “Mother Hip-Hop,” will be honored in the area of social action. Diggs founded Peace Boston, a youth peace movement, comprised of members of the Hip-Hop community, youth workers, and youth, aimed at unifying local organizations that work with youth throughout Boston.

The group’s Peace in the Streets CD is currently being sold by the Stylists for Peace at 15 hair salons and barbershops in Boston and Cambridge to raises money for the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute and youth programming in Boston.

The women will be honored with a reception and ceremony at Northeastern University’s John D. O’Bryant African American Institute Thursday.

The evening will feature food, poetry, song, and ancient African traditions that honor and pay homage to the past, present and future achievements of women, the fraternity said.

Darnell L. Williams, president and CEO of the Urban League of Eastern MA will deliver the keynote address.

The reception begins at 5:30 p.m. and the program begins at 6 p.m. Both are free and open to the public.

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