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Sigmas honor community leaders at Hub ceremony

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Sigmas honor community leaders at Hub ceremony
(L to R) Cindy Diggs, founder of Peace Boston (Sapphire Honoree – Social Action); Dr. Nteri Nelson, adjunct professor at UMass Boston (Sapphire Honoree – Education); and Teri Williams, president and COO, OneUnited Bank (Sapphire Honoree – Business) were honored by the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Suffolk County Alumni Chapter, last week. (Photo: Chris Aduama)

The Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Suffolk County Alumni Chapter, honored three non-chapter members during its annual Tribute to Black Women and Sapphire Awards Ceremony last week. The award recipients received the prestigious Sapphire Award in recognition of their dedication to uplifting the lives of members of their community.

The Sapphire Award is the highest honor given by the Fraternity to non-members who are making a difference in their communities in the areas of social action, education and business. Phi Beta Sigma was founded in 1914 at Howard University by three African American male students and now has more than 200,000 members worldwide with 700 chapters in the US, Africa, Europe, Asia and the Caribbean.

Sapphire Award recipient Teri Williams, OneUnited Bank’s president and COO, was recognized for business. In addition to overseeing the strategic direction of the nation’s largest black-owned bank and managing the day-to-day operations, Williams is also the author of the financial literacy book for urban youth, I Got Bank! What My Granddad Taught Me About Money. Based on the financial principles from her book, she conducts financial literacy workshops across the country.

Williams is committed to ensuring that people in urban communities have access to affordable, quality financial services. She has worked in the financial industry for over 25 years, serving in various positions for premier institutions such as Bank of America and American Express, where she was one of the youngest vice presidents. After receiving a MBA with honors from Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree with distinction from Brown University, Williams served as treasurer for Dimock Community Health Center in Roxbury.

Cindy Diggs, honored in the area of social action, founded Peace Boston in 2005 in response to the surge in violent crimes. The goal of the organization is to help maintain peace in the community and keep Boston’s youth involved in positive activities.

Diggs transferred her passion for hip hop music into an avenue to connect with the teenage and young adult community in Boston. The group’s Peace in the Streets CD is presently sold by the Stylists for Peace at hair salons and barbershops across Boston to raise money for the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute. She is the former president and founder of Us Making Moves Forever (UMMF), a networking and referral service for members of the entertainment business. UMMF was active in the foundation of Boston’s hip hop music industry from 1995 to 2000.

Dr. Nteri Nelson, honored in the area of education, is a professor in UMass Boston’s Africana Studies Department. She is also 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.

Darnell L. Williams, president and CEO of the Urban League of Eastern MA, delivered the keynote address. The award ceremony was held at Northeastern University’s John D. O’Bryant African American Institute.

The Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity is dedicated to building strong bonds of brotherhood, living with integrity, serving humanity, promoting quality education and developing leaders in Massachusetts and around the world.