United Pastors for Social Empowerment Host Social Impact Awards Banquet

Honoree Eric Walker of Lucas County Child Services Board

By Dawn Scotland
The Truth Reporter

On Tuesday January 9, United Pastors for Social Empowerment (UPSE) hosted their annual Social Impact Awards at Georgio’s Café. 2024 Award Recipients included Rev. Floyd Rose, faith leader and activist; Pete Gerken, Lucas County Commissioner; Wade Kapszukiewicz, City of Toledo mayor; Eric Walker, retired, Lucas County Children Services and Amerah Archer, PhD, of Toledo Public Schools. The keynote speaker was author and motivational speaker Lucas Daniel Boyce.

The United Pastors for Social Empowerment (UPSE) is a coalition of pastors committed to using their collective power to effectively empower communities of color and marginalized populations economically, socially, politically and spiritually.

Founded in 2008 by Rev. Donald L. Perryman, PhD, the independent ecumenical group of senior pastors works in collaboration with community leaders and institutions with the mission to challenge the crises and disparities affecting the poor, marginalized and communities of color through public policy, advocacy, community development and through political empowerment and coalition building.

“Tonight, we gather in this grand setting not only to acknowledge the remarkable dedication demonstrated by our award recipients but also to reflect on the powerful impact our collective actions can have on creating a more just society,” said Perryman, president of UPSE, “Through unwavering commitment, these remarkable individuals and organizations have worked tirelessly to champion and defend the principles that UPSE holds dear.”

The Welcome & Invocation for the celebration was given by Fr. Geoff Rose, president of St. Francis de Sales School. Felica Clark, MBA, Metroparks of the Toledo Area, provided The Year in Review of UPSE’s 2023 Achievements, highlighting their efforts in promoting food justice particularly in the Black community.

“UPSE has embraced the values of food as a basic human right,” stated Clark. “Intersectional collaboration is the key to achieving food equity. Our project is rooted in the idea that the Black church…is called to eliminate food deserts…UPSE has embarked on the journey to bring about positive change.” The group, along with its many efforts, launched Equitable Access Alliance of Toledo (EATS) creating healthy food initiatives and justice in underserved neighborhoods.

The introduction of the keynote speaker was given by Daniel Pearlman, vice president, Community & Government Relations, Jewish Federation of Greater Toledo.

Lucas Daniel Boyce, author and motivational speaker, gave a compelling testimony of his life. Boyce is the author of Living Proof: From Foster Care to the White House and the NBA. Prior to publishing his book, he served at the White House in the offices of Political Affairs, Public Liaison, and the office of the Vice President. Today he is the director of Business Development and Legislative Affairs for one of the NBAs elite sports franchises, the Orlando Magic.

Sponsor Recognition was provided by Candace Buckley, vice president of Program & Services, Cherry Street Mission Ministries and the Benediction was given by Father Geoff Rose, president of St. Francis de Sales School


Gerald Rose represents his father honoree Rev. Floyd Rose

2024 Social Impact Award Recipients

Rev. Floyd Rose, Faith Leader and Activist

The influential leader, activist, pastor and author commitment to justice and equality is evident throughout his life. In 1978 along with his wife Ann, Rose founded Save Our Children, Inc., a community-based organization dedicated to building survival skills and ensuring opportunities for children which led to the establishment of the Save Our Children Trust Fund in 1986.

Among his many leadership roles, Rose served as the President of the NAACP in 1982. During his tenure, the NAACP signed significant “Fair Share” agreements, representing millions of dollars in sales and services for African-American businesses. Additionally, he organized the Central Committee of Black Organizations and Churches, giving rise to the impactful “I Can Succeed” program, featuring successful African-American leaders as role models for elementary school students.

In 1979, Reverend Rose founded the Family Baptist Church, which rapidly became Toledo’s fastest-growing church, growing from three to over 500 members in just one year.

As a true heir to the tradition of passionate social activism, Reverend Rose stands tall among the great activists in history, embodying the spirit of Thomas Paine, Frederick Douglas, Susan B. Anthony, Eugene Debs, and Martin Luther King Jr. His tireless efforts may not always be recognized with plaques and statues, but his legacy is etched in the fabric of a better Toledo – a city that he passionately dedicated his life to shaping.


Honorees Mayor Kapszukiewicz, Commissioner Pete Gerken, Amerah Archer, Ph.D_ Eric Walker – seated – and Rev. Donald L. Perryman

Pete Gerken, Lucas County Commissioner

Pete’s mother instilled in him a sense of social and political justice, and as a student and young adult, he was active in promoting social and political change. While attending University of Detroit Mercy, he marched in Washington DC and participated in a hunger strike in opposition to the Vietnam War. During the 1980’s he stood on the picket lines in solidarity for major UAW and Teamster labor strikes.

He became a union rep for UAW Local 12 in 1985 and worked his way up through union Leadership during his 30 years at Jeep. As a union leader, Pete’s early interest in politics grew. He was appointed to an at large seat on Toledo City Council in 1996. Pete served on Toledo City Council for 8 years and chaired the Environment, Utilities, and Public Service Committee. He was also strongly involved in both Toledo Loves Jeep campaigns. Pete helped the City of Toledo become a leader in the state by passing the first domestic partnership ordinance in the state, the first living wage ordinance in the state, and the first smoking ban in the state. Pete worked with Mayor Jack Ford to create CareNet. He was also a catalyst in the formation of the Toledo and Lucas County stormwater utilities and the Northwest Ohio Electric Aggregation Coalition.

Pete Gerken was elected as Lucas County Commissioner in 2005. Commissioner Gerken has since been re-elected to office and was recently reelected to a fifth four-year term in 2020. Pete is currently serving as President of the Board of Lucas County Commissioners.


Wade Kapszukiewicz, City of Toledo Mayor

Wade Kapszukiewicz was elected the 58th mayor of Toledo, Ohio on November 7, 2017 and re-elected for a second term on November 2, 2021. As mayor, Mr. Kapszukiewicz has maintained focus on key issues including public safety, economic development, community engagement, and infrastructure improvements.

Prior to his time as mayor, Kapszukiewicz served as Lucas County Treasurer from 2005 until 2018, where he founded the Lucas County Land Bank. Kapszukiewicz served one term on the Lucas County Board of Education and was later a Toledo City Councilman for nearly seven years.

Kapszukiewicz received a bachelor’s degree in journalism and political science from Marquette University in 1994 and was named the valedictorian of the College of Communication, Journalism, and Performing Arts. He received a master’s degree in public policy from University of Michigan in 1996.


Eric Walker, Retired, Lucas County Children Services

Eric J. Walker, the only son of Clarence and Shirley J. Walker, is a fifth generation native Toledoan who graduated from St. Frances De Sales High School, Hampton University, and University of Michigan – Management Program.

Walker credits God and The Holy Spirit with saving his life in the fall of 1990 in Alfred Street Baptist Church. Walker’s thirty plus year job, education and training began at the Private Industry Council (PIC) where he attended school and worked as a coordinator under Director Flute Rice. Walker was then hired by the Board of Lucas County Commissioners (BCC) as the first workforce director responsible for the implementation of the Effective Management Federal Employment training program at The Source, supervising 25 employees while administering a $20 million dollar budget (2003-2017).


Honoree Amerah Archer, Ph.D and husband Joshua Archer

Amerah Archer, PhD, Toledo Public Schools

Amera Archer is an educator who has been a tireless advocate for equity driven education.

For ten years she served as a teacher, mentor and advisor at Scott High School. She earned her doctorate in May 2022. Her dissertation was titled “Dismantling the Panopticon of Education: Toward Preparing Social Justice leachers of Subject Matter.”

In January 2023, she was named the Acting Executive Director of the Department of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion for Toledo Public Schools.

Her work has inspired educational research scholars, public school teachers, and high school students alike. She can most commonly be found working with teachers to provide culturally responsive practices that they can implement so students have an engaging learning experience and affirm who they are. Her experiences and research have led her to speak around the nation and she has published papers in leading peer-reviewed journals.

An example of this work was a Judith Herb Endowed Project. Archer worked with a team of researchers over the course of several years to develop a partnership with our local school district to identify the specific needs of the students in our immediate community in an effort to re-design the curriculum and better prepare teachers to meet the needs of all students in each content area.

She completed the Advanced Leaders Academy for University of Toledo Graduate Students and was a Woodrow Wilson National Teaching Fellow.

Sponsors for the 2024 USPE Social Impact Awards include: Gold Sponsor: Lucas County; Silver Sponsor: The City of Toledo; Bronze Sponsor: The Maritime Academy; Keynote Speaker Sponsor: Toledo Lucas County Homelessness Board; Friend Sponsors: Lucas County Children Services, Mental Health & Recovery Services Board of Lucas County, SSOE, Toledo Building Services; Supporters: Area Office of Ageing of Northwestern, Ohio, TARTA, Father Tony Gallagher.

The planning committee included Jacqueline Banks, Beatrice Daniels, Debbie Barnett and Sena Mourad-Friedman

For more information on USPE visit unitedpastors.org